This week’s AEW Rampage featured Adam Cole facing Tomohiro Ishii, Jade Cargill defending the TBS Title and Eddie Kingston against Daniel Garcia.
It’s Friday and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Taz, and Ricky Starks. Maybe Chris Jericho is not on commentary anymore now that he is a heel again? I don’t know.
If you want to see the entrances for the opening match, AEW posted it on Youtube:
Men’s Owen Hart Cup Tournament Qualifier: Adam Cole vs. Tomohiro Ishii (w/Orange Cassidy & Rocky Romero)
It’s right to the action on Rampage as Ishii hit a running shoulder tackle. Cole got in some shots in the corner, Cole celebrated that and Ishii no sold the attack leading to a hard chop to the chest. Cole held onto the ropes to avoid an attack, Cole to the floor and Ishii followed with some more chops. Ishii charged for a clothesline, Cole moved and Ishii clotheslined the ring post. Cole threw Ishii into the barricade. Back in the ring, Cole slapped on a chinlock, then after about a minute, Cole hit a neckbreaker. Cole was taunting Ishii with some slaps to the head, so Ishii was getting fired up in the corner. Ishii no sold several forearms leading to one stiff forearm from Ishii that knocked Cole down. Cole with a forearm, then he went off the ropes and Ishii hit a powerslam. Ishii with a belly to back suplex for two. Cole went for a lifting slam, Ishii got out of that, Ishii ducked a superkick and then Cole managed to hit a slam off the shoulders into the knee. They went to a 90-second picture in picture break.
Ishii got a hold of Cole on the turnbuckle, Ishii was standing on the middle rope and hit a delayed vertical superplex for a two count. Ishii went for a sliding lariat, Cole moved and Cole hit a superkick. Cole went for the Boom knee, Ishii ducked to avoid it and Ishii hit a sliding lariat for two. Cole with a pump kick to the jaw, Cole with a suplex into the knee and that got a two count. Cole wanted Panama Sunrise, Ishii avoided it, superkick by Cole, the no selling continued and they each hit kicks to the head, which is when they decided to sell by collapsing to the mat. Ishii with a headbutt, Cole with a superkick, Ishii no sell again and then a clothesline. Jay White showed up at ringside to send Romero into the steel steps. Ishii was distracted by that, the referee was looking at Romero on the floor. Cole with a low blow uppercut followed by a running knee to the head for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Adam Cole
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match between two talented guys that had never wrestled before. You can call it a “Dream Match” but it’s not like it was some epic match. It was still good, though! The finish was basically right out of the heel wrestling playbook with a low blow leading to a finishing move after a distraction. Ishii’s style works even though there’s a lot of no selling, but I guess no sell a low blow when it’s the finish. Anyway, Cole winning is fine since Ishii won’t be around AEW that much.
The Jericho Appreciation Society group was shown trying to enter the building. Security told them that management that they aren’t allowed to be in. Jericho said it’s his show, it’s Rampage and people can’t wait to see him. Jericho told the security guy he makes more money in one day than the security guy makes in a year. There were more security guys. Daniel Garcia told his buddies he knows he can beat Eddie Kingston on his own because he’s a sports entertainer, so he knows what to do. Jericho and his group left.
Analysis: Jericho was a commentator on this show and now he’s not even allowed to be in the building. It was the stipulation for the Kingston-Garcia match with nobody allowed at ringside.
Hook was about to be interviewed by Lexi Nair, then Danhausen was shown backstage with an empty bag of Lays chips that Danhausen poured out on the floor. Hook pushed Danhausen against a wall: “You wanted my attention? You got it now.” Hook left.
Analysis: This is apparently big “news” that Hook finally spoke. It’s not exactly as riveting as when Yokozuna spoke English for the first time, but I guess the AEW hardcore fans on Twitter probably went crazy for this.
Lance Archer vs. Serpentico
Serpentico tried a suicide dive as Archer walked down to the ring. Shawn Spears was on commentary since his buddy MJF paid Archer to take out Wardlow on Dynamite next week. Archer caught Serpentico and hit a Chokeslam onto the apron. The bell rang with Archer hitting a suplex across the ring. Archer with a running back elbow in the corner. Archer hit the Blackout slam for the pinfall win and Archer pinned with his foot on Serpentico’s chest. It went about 40 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Lance Archer
Analysis: 1/4* Squash match. Simple as that.
Post match, Archer gave Serpentico a Chokeslam, then another Chokeslam and Jake Roberts wanted one more. Archer mocked the Powerbomb Symphony that Wardlow does, but then Archer shoved Serpentico down. Spears said it was beautiful work that was worth every penny.
Analysis: It was a way to build Archer ahead of the match against Wardlow on Dynamite. I think Wardlow will beat Archer.
A video aired about Tony Nese with manager/lawyer Smart Mark Sterling talking about how their goal was to take Tony straight to the top. Tony said that Mark lines them up and Tony knocks their lights out.
Daniel Garcia made his entrance representing the Jericho Appreciation Society. Other wrestlers are banned from ringside. Eddie Kingston got a good ovation from the crowd since he’s a popular babyface.
Eddie Kingston vs. Daniel Garcia
Kingston came out slugging with punches that knocked Garcia down by the turnbuckle and Kingston hit a running boot to the head. Garcia to the floor, so Kingston hit some chops followed by a hard whip into the steel steps. Garcia managed to send Kingston into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Garcia delivered knees to the ribs along with a kick to the spine. Garcia with a shoulder tackle to the ribs along with a knee strike to the ribs. Kingston came back with chops, Garcia hit him with forearms and Garcia with some dreaded head biting. Kingston came back with his own head biting and Garcia delivered some kicks to the body. Garcia shoved Kingston shoulder first into the ring post. They went to a picture in picture break.
The match continued as they exchanged chops with Excalibur saying they were “shellacking eachother.” That’s one way to put it. Garcia with uppercuts, Kingston with a knee to the ribs and Garcia delivered multiple elbow smashes to the shoulder/head area. Garcia hit an impressive German Suplex for a two count. Garcia stomped repeatedly on Kingston’s chest. Garcia charged, Kingston got a boot up, Kingston with a back elbow and Kingston jumped off the middle ropes with a knee drop to the back. Kingston wanted a move, Garcia broke out of it and Garcia tried a Boston Crab, but the form was bad. Garcia went for a Sharpshooter with Kingston getting to the rope to force a break. Garcia with a kick to the armpit area, Kingston with an eye poke, an enziguri kick and an Exploder Suplex for two. Garcia went for a takedown, Kingston got out of it and hit a backdrop driver. Kingston hit the spinning back fist for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Eddie Kingston
Analysis: ***1/2 That was great. Their styles meshed well and they’ve wrestled before, so the aggressiveness shown by both guys made sense based on their history together. The Sharpshooter spot by Garcia wasn’t smooth at all, so that’s something he should work on. Kingston getting the win made sense since he got beat up a lot by Jericho’s group, so he needed a win like this to give him some positive momentum.
Post match, Kingston made Garcia look into the camera. Kingston had his belt off, he teased whipping Garcia and told Jericho that he’s saving this whipping for him. Kingston told Garcia to tell his boss.
Analysis: They are building to a big Kingston-Jericho match. It’s probably going to be at Double or Nothing and it looks like it might be a Strap Match since Kingston was teasing the leather belt attack.
Keith Lee and Shane Strickland were interviewed by Tony Schiavone. Lee wants to annihilate everybody in Team Taz. Strickland said that Starks & Hobbs won that battle in New Orleans, so they will pay that back in blood and said that the war was far from over.
Ricky Starks was shown with Powerhouse Hobbs. Starks said that they finish the job each and every time. Starks said that they will cash the check with their names on it.
The TBS Championship match was up next.
There was a backstage interview with Dr. Britt Baker, Jamie Hayter & Toni Storm with Tony Schiavone noting they were all in the Women’s Owen Hart Cup tournament and one of them can be the champion. Toni ripped on them for disrespecting her with Toni saying she’ll see Jamie in the first round and maybe she’ll see Britt later if she makes it that far.
Analysis: Champion of what? It’s not a title. It’s a tournament. Anyway, it was just some bickering with Storm reminding them of who she is.
This Wednesday on Dynamite:
* Philly Street Fight: Serena Deeb vs. Hikaru Shida.
* Dax Harwood vs. Cash Wheeler in the Owen Hart Foundation tournament. There were comments from both FTR guys. They said that they wanted to do it because it means a lot to them.
* TNT Championship Ladder Match: Sammy Guevara vs. Scorpio Sky.
* 10-man Tag: Adam Cole, Young Bucks & ReDRagon vs. Dante Martin, Varsity Blonds, Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson.
* Lance Archer vs. Wardlow.
Mark Henry conducted the split-screen interview with TBS Champion Jade Cargill joined by Smart Mark Sterling and Marina Shafir. Jade acted like she wasn’t concerned with Mark saying Jade takes every match seriously. Mark said that balloons will be there for Jade’s 30th win. Marina said that problems don’t care about Mark’s plans for the celebration. Jade said that she’s the problem in the division. Mark shouted his “it’s time for the main event” catchphrase.
Marina Shafir made her entrance with a 6-0 record that is ranked #2 in the AEW women’s division. I think only one of those wins was on television and it was a boring match. There was no reaction for her.
Analysis: Marina is married to Roderick Strong, they have a son together and she’s good friends with Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler. She was released by WWE last year.
Jade Cargill got a superstar entrance with the TBS Title around her waist and she was joined by Smart Mark Sterling. They showed the “Baddie Section” with Red Velvet and Kiera Hogan sitting there along with some other women.
TBS Championship: Jade Cargill vs. Marina Shafir
Shafir jumped on the back of Cargill, so Jade slammed her down. Shafir charged, Jade caught her and Jade hit a fallaway slam followed by a kip up. Jade with a clothesline that sent Shafir over the top to the floor. Jade tossed Shafir into the barricade at ringside by the Baddie Section. Mark Sterling was distracting the referee, so Velvet was punching Shafir and Jade got in another punch. Jade hit a jumping back elbow followed by a belly to back suplex. Shafir broke free, she did a cartwheel along with a kick to the knee and Shafir applied a tight headlock submission. Jade powered out of it with a side powerslam for a two count. They went to a picture in picture break.
Jade was in control with submission pulling back on the arm, but Shafir got out of it with a hiptoss followed by a kick to the back. Shafir applied a kneebar submission, but Jade managed to get to the ropes to break free. They left the ring with Shafir getting a few shots on Jade. Sterling yelled at Shafir, so Shafir grabbed his arms and flipped him over. Shafir kicked Jade in the back of the leg a few times. The fans seemed dead quiet at this point. Shafir taunted Red/Kiera at ringside, so Jade hit a pump kick on the floor. Jade picked up Marina and gave her a Chokeslam (or maybe a spinebuster on the table, but it was near the end of the table, so it didn’t break. You are supposed to do a move like that in the middle of the table so it breaks easier. Anyway, Jade celebrated with her friends at ringside. Back in the ring, Jade went for a pin with one foot and Shafir kicked out of that. Shafir applied a heel hook submission on the left leg, so Jade kicked Shafir repeatedly. Jade picked up Shafir and hit the Jaded slam for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Jade Cargill
Analysis: *1/4 A bad match here as Cargill picked up her 30th win. They tried to put over Shafir as a threat, but the fans didn’t react to her at all and there was very little excitement in this match. Going 12 minutes was too long for them. It was obvious that they edited in some fake crowd noise because the fans really weren’t into the match at all. Shafir kept going for leg submission, which were not sold by Jade. Learn to sell your leg when somebody works on your leg throughout the match and matches will be better.
The win meant that Cargill is 30-0 in AEW. There was some confetti and balloons for Jade winning 30 matches in a row. Jade celebrated a bit while Excalibur screamed about stuff coming up next week. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: Cargill needs an intriguing feud. This was her toughest test? The match was boring. They need to do a better job of building up babyface women because right now they don’t have that many of them that look like credible opponents. Since AEW only has one women’s match per TV show, it’s tough to build them up that much.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Eddie Kingston
2. Adam Cole
3. (tie) Tomohiro Ishii
3. (tie) Daniel Garcia
This Week: 6.75 out of 10
Last Week: 7.5
It was a solid wrestling show with two good matches. The opening match with Cole beating Ishii in a cheap manner was fun to watch. Ishii’s style works wherever he is and Cole is always great. I wouldn’t call it a “dream match” like the announcers try to call every match where an NJPW guy is involved.
The main event should have been the Kingston/Garcia match. That was my favorite match on this week’s show. I understand that AEW wants to try to feature Jade Cargill a lot as the current TBS Champion. It’s just that her match with Marina Shafir was really boring compared to the two better matches on the show. You could tell they had to use fake crowd noise for most of Jade’s match.
AEW is trying to make Rampage into a more important show. I don’t think it’s there yet. I’m sure some of the AEW hardcore fans are elated that Hook finally spoke, though. Huge moment in AEW history, I guess.
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