The John Report: AEW Rampage 04/22/23 Review
This week’s AEW Rampage featured El Hijo Del Vikingo in the main event, FTR in an eight-man tag team match and more.
It was taped after Dynamite. This week’s show aired on Saturday night instead of Friday night due to postseason NBA and NHL coverage on TNT. As usual, I’ll do play-by-play for one match and summary style for the rest.
This is AEW Rampage from the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Check out the AEW PPV listing archive only on TJRWrestling as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
It’s Saturday night and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross.
Jon Moxley vs. Christopher Daniels
Daniels is in his 50s and looks like he did in his 30s. The man doesn’t age while he’s working in the AEW office in talent relations. Moxley ran over Daniels with shoulder tackles and then Daniels tripped up Moxley. Daniels sent Moxley over the top to the floor followed by a clothesline. Moxley came back with a back body drop on Daniels on the floor. After Moxley sent Daniels into the steel steps, they went to picture-in-picture break.
Daniels hit a couple of chops and Moxley hit him with a Cutter. Daniels came back with a cross body block. After Daniels got a rollup for two, Moxley hit a king kong lariat and a piledriver. Daniels managed to hit a flatliner off the ropes and Angel’s Wings for two. No reaction from the crowd for the nearfall. Moxley did some ear biting and applied the Bulldog Choke submission for the win.
Winner by submission: Jon Moxley
Analysis: **1/2 A full-time guy Moxley beat the part time office guy Daniels, which is a result that shouldn’t surprise anybody. While Daniels doesn’t look older physically, he does move slower than he did in his prime, that’s for sure. Age catches up to everyone. I think Moxley could have won quicker, but what they did was fine.
Post match, Moxley shook hands with Daniels. No cheap shot even though Moxley has been heelish of late.
There was an interview with TBS Champion Jade Cargill and her lawyer “Smart” Mark Sterling. Mark said that Taya Valkyrie can’t use the Road to Valhalla against Jade during their match on Dynamite. If Valkyrie uses that move then she will be disqualified. Jade didn’t really speak as makeup was applied to her.
Analysis: The story is lame, but I like Taya and at least it gives Cargill a storyline for the first time in many months after having nothing to do for a long time.
Let’s Hear from Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Isiah Kassidy & Hook
That foursome was in the ring for a promo. Jeff said it was super cool to be back in this elite world. Jeff said he worked so hard to reach this moment right now. Jeff thanked the fans chanting “welcome back” at him. Jeff said that the smartest thing for him to do is retire…from screwing up! Jeff said he’s here in AEW to end his career on an extremely high note and not in a depressing way. Jeff said that the future is waiting for us to prevail.
Matt Hardy spoke about The Firm’s Deletion, but Stokely Hathaway appeared on the screen complaining about not knowing the details of the match. Matt said that he will let Stokely know when the time is right. Stokely said don’t worry about it and God Bless.
The Firm’s Big Bill, Ethan Page and Lee Moriarty attacked the faces from behind and cleared the ring. Ethan gave Kassidy an Ego’s Edge release Powerbomb as the heels celebrated. The heels wanted to do more to Kassidy, but The Hardys were back up so the heels retreated.
Analysis: It furthers the story leading to The Firm Deletion match taking place at some point soon. Jeff Hardy’s promo was fine. I think the fans cared, but there was also some fake crowd noise going on. Good luck to Jeff staying on the right path moving forward.
There was a video showing what happened to Adam Cole and Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. on Dynamite when Chris Jericho and The Outcasts beat them. They showed Adam telling Britt he was so sorry.
A promo aired featuring Keith Lee and Dustin Rhodes talking about how Naturally Limitless (that’s their team name) are back in action next Friday on Rampage.
Kiera Hogan vs. Julia Hart
This feels like a random match. I don’t remember Kiera’s last match on TV. Hogan hit a running hip attack on the apron and a leg drop with Hart selling it before the contact was made. After Hogan got more offense, Hart hit a neckbreaker and a standing moonsault. Hart applied the Hartless submission pulling back on the head/arms and Hogan tapped out. It went about three minutes.
Winner by submission: Julia Hart
Analysis: *1/4 A quick match to put over Hart since she’s on TV more than Hogan is these days. I continue to feel bad for the AEW women’s division since they only get three minutes on a show like this. The names Hogan and Hart sure meant a lot more decades ago, huh? Just saying.
Post match, Anna Jay ran out to the ring to fight with Hart. They exchanged punches and referees quickly broke it up unlike the brawling segments on Dynamite that had nobody break them up.
Analysis: I know Anna and Julia had a match recently, but both women are heelish. It’s tough to root for either of them.
Christopher Daniels was interviewed in the locker room with Claudio Castagnoli, Jon Moxley and Wheeler Yuta interrupting. Moxley told his guys that Daniels was cool since he’s an OG. Daniels said that Moxley has some honor left in him. Moxley beat up Daniels and rammed his head into the locker repeatedly. Moxley said they never changed and everybody else is out of their damn minds. Excalibur put it over by saying Daniels is close to The Elite, so that’s why Moxley attacked him.
Analysis: Moxley was respectful to Daniels earlier, but this time he did the cheap attack in the locker room area to take Daniels out.
FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler), Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett v. Tony Nese, Ari Daivari, Josh Woods & Slim J
Dax and Cash are the AEW Tag Team Champions. Wheeler hit a powerslam on Slim J, so Lethal tagged himself in. Jarrett hit a Russian legsweep, then Lethal hit a dropkick and there was strutting going on by Jarrett & Lethal, so FTR did it too. A PIP break followed that.
The heels were in control of Wheeler for a few minutes with some quick tags by the guys with no chance. Wheeler hit a belly to back suplex and broke free to bring in Dax. All eight guys ended up in the ring leading to double clotheslines out of the ring, Jarrett tossed Slim J out of the ring and Dax brought Mark Sterling into the ring. Jarrett accidentally punched Dax after Sterling moved and Nese got a two count out of a rollup. Jarrett hit The Stroke on Nese and Dax covered Nese for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winners by pinfall: FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler), Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett
Analysis: **1/4 An average match with an obvious result. It was just done to further this story that will likely leading to Lethal & Jarrett challenging FTR for the AEW Tag Team Titles at some point. Jarrett being in the ring illegally for over a minute to hit his finisher is a dumb way to end the match, but it’s typical AEW ignoring rules. I get that it fits the story, but normally FTR matches don’t have bad finishes like that.
After the match, FTR and the Jarrett/Lethal side were arguing while Mark Briscoe ran out to calm everybody down.
A video aired about Orange Cassidy’s run as the International Championship and he’s facing Bandido next Wednesday on AEW Dynamite. Orange has 19 successful title defenses.
They showed a brief video about AAA Mega Champion El Hijo Del Vikingo defending his title against Dralistico.
There was rundown of what’s coming on Dynamite this Wednesday with fast talking by Excalibur. The Butcher & The Blade did a promo about facing Kenny Omega & Konosuke Takeshita. I’d say Kenny & Takeshita are winning that match.
AAA Mega Championship: El Hijo Del Vikingo vs. Dralistico (w/Rush, Preston Vance & Jose The Assistant)
I’ll go play by play here. There’s no story so Excalibur tried to tell us why this title is so important. When Vikingo made his entrance, Dralistico hit a somersault dive onto him. Vikingo was back up with a dropkick and Dralistico went to the floor. Vikingo went for a dive, Vikingo moved and Vikingo hit the ramp. Back in the ring, Dralistico hit a Senton off the top for two. JR tried to put this over as a great show. It’s a weak effort. They exchanged forearms with Dralistico rocking Vikingo, but Vikingo came back with a spinning kick. Dralistico with a suplex and Vikingo with a reverse rana. Dralistico hit a Destroyer off the ropes and then they finally decided to sell for a bit.
Dralistico was in control with a moonsault off the middle turnbuckle onto Vikingo on the floor. Back in the ring, Dralistico hit a springboard double knee attack for two. They went to the turnbuckle to set up for the next spot with some weak strikes. Vikingo headbutted Dralistico to the mat and Vikingo hit a Canadian Destroyer on the ring apron. It looked devastating from the original camera angle, but then the replay makes it obvious that the bump is all on Vikingo’s legs. Anyway, it would mean more if there wasn’t a Destroyer earlier in the match. Dralistico distracted the referee, so Dralistico’s friends attacked Vikingo and the referee saw it, which led to Dralistico’s friends being ejected to the back. Dralistico got a rollup for two. Vikingo hit a spinning kick and a double foot stomp off the top for two. They did a spot where Vikingo was on the middle rope, Dralistico kicked him and Vikingo had to wait (standing on the middle rope) for five seconds as Dralistico hit a diving hurricanrana to send Vikingo to the floor. Dralistico went for an armbar finisher, but Vikingo got his foot on the rope to break it. Vikingo hit a back heel kick and Vikingo hit the running knees in the corner. Vikingo went up top and hit a 630 Senton splash for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: El Hijo Del Vikingo
Analysis: ***1/4 The action was good with a result that was not a surprise because it’s not like AAA is going to have a title change happen on a taped AEW Rampage show, so we know Vikingo was going to win. The phrase “slow down” comes to mind. It’s spot after spot after spot and not enough selling to make it a complete match. I respect the aerial skills of Vikingo and Dralistico because they are very talented. Also, when both guys do a Destroyer within five minutes of eachother, is it that devastating of a move? You need to make moves mean something more. Anyway, there were some great moves toward the finish leading to that 630 Senton splash for the win. Vikingo is a gifted athlete for sure. Dralistico is very good too.
Post match, Dralistico’s buddies attacked Vikingo. Rush and Vance were punching/kicking Vikingo and Vance hit a discus clothesline. The heels stood tall over Vikingo. End show.
Analysis: Vikingo is under contract to AAA, so I’m not sure what this is leading to although I guess it could lead to him beating Rush or Vance soon.
Three Stars of the Show
- El Hijo Del Vikingo
- Jon Moxley
This Week: 5.5 out of 10
Last Week: 6
An average wrestling show as usual for Rampage. Everything was very predictable and most of it wasn’t that exciting. I truly hope Jeff Hardy’s positive attitude in his promo means he will be on the right path for the rest of his life.
I will give El Hijo Del Vikingo and Dralistico credit for having an entertaining spotfest. I’m not going to call it a great match because they barely sell anything and set up spots in an unrealistic way. However, they are good performers. No doubt about that. I just don’t know if the average viewer cares about a cold match with no story in a main event of Rampage.
The rest of the show felt like a weak effort that barely advanced storylines. It felt like stuff that was just put out there to fill out one hour of TV on a Saturday night.
Thanks for reading. You can contact me using any of the methods below.