This week’s AEW Rampage featured Samoa Joe defending the ROH TV Title against Trent Beretta while Swerve Strickland faced Darby Allin in singles action.
The way I watch Rampage now is off a site where I download the show. I don’t want to say the site, so then it might get shut down. I’m tired of using the TSN App. Anyway, since I’m watching a version without commercials I won’t be mentioning the commercials. For Dynamite, it airs on TSN2 here in Canada, but Rampage is only on the app.
It’s Friday and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Taz, Ricky Starks and Chris Jericho.
It was right to the action with the wrestlers already in the ring.
Owen Hart Tournament Qualifying Match: Swerve Strickland vs. Darby Allin (w/Sting)
Swerve drove Allin to the corner, Swerve went for a jumping kick and Allin moved out of the way. They locked up doing some moves, there was an armbar off Allin off the ropes and Swerve landed on his feet. When Swerve went for an armdrag, Allin countered him with a side headlock. Excalibur said they have faced eachother six times in their careers. Swerve sent Allin out of the ring, Swerve went over the top to the apron and then Allin did a flipping Stunner on the floor. That led to a two count in the ring. Allin went for a suicide dive, but Swerve met him with a jumping knee to block it. Swerve was on the apron where he delivered a kick to the chest. They did the 90-second picture in picture break as I write about the action with Swerve getting a two count. Swerve jumped off the middle rope with a forearm to the back followed by some wrenching on the left arm. They were back to full screen with Swerve going for a kick, but Allin got the foot and applied a kneebar ankle lock. Swerve broke free followed by a suplex for a two count. Swerve missed a move off the top, so Allin followed up with a Code Red (Sunset Bomb) for a two count. Allin jumped off the top with a Coffin Drop, Swerve got his knees up to block leading to knees to the back and Swerve hit a jumping kick to the head, but Allin was near the ropes, so Allin got his hand on the bottom rope. Swerve picked up Allin on the apron leading to a vertical suplex off the apron to the floor. Ouch! That’s a painful-looking bump. Ricky Starks made his way down to the ring, Sting got in his way to prevent interference and Swerve went back into the ring with Allin. Allin with a trip leading to his pinfall move where he held the leg – a move he calls Last Supper – and that was enough to beat Swerve. It went 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Darby Allin
Analysis: ***1/2 Great match between two talented babyfaces. It could have gone either way really, but Allin is pushed more than Swerve is, so Allin winning makes sense. They are two talented athletes that can do a lot in the air, yet this was more of a technical wrestling style of match. They did do that crazy spot with the suplex on the floor, which is not a good bump to take. The nearfall by the ropes was a nice spot to do to show how close Swerve was to winning the match. Starks did cause Swerve to be distracted a bit, but it wasn’t a big distraction.
Shawn Spears did a promo talking about how Wardlow’s opponent is 7-feet tall and he has a lot of “Pinnacle Potential” just like Wardlow had before he bit the hand that fed him. Spears said that Wardlow is alone and next week on Dynamite, “War piggy” goes to slaughter.
The announcers talked about Chris Jericho’s group attack on Eddie Kingston, Santana & Ortiz on Dynamite, which saw Jericho toss a fireball into Kingston’s face. Jericho awarded himself the award as the Sports Entertainer of the Week. Santana & Ortiz attacked Jericho by the commentary table. Santana punched Jericho several times. Security broke it up.
Analysis: That’s some logical follow up to Jericho’s fireball attack on Kingston on Dynamite.
Jericho said he demanded a match against Santana on Dynamite next week and it’s official. Jericho said he’ll teach him a lesson in sports entertainment and pain.
The Baddies – Jade Cargill, Red Velvet & Kiera Hogan (w/Smart Mark Sterling) vs. Skye Blue, Trish Adora & Willow Nightingale
Cargill is the TBS Championship with some women friends that they call “The Baddies” now. Velvet hit a jumping kick followed by repeated kicks in the corner. Hogan hit a sliding kick in the corner. Hogan missed a leg drop, Blue with a superkick, Velvet broke up the pin and Nightingale shoved Velvet out of the ring. Hogan and Blue caught each other’s kick attempts and Hogan did a roundhouse kick to the head. Hogan with a leg drop on Adora. Cargill hit a pump kick on Adora followed by the Jaded sitout slam for the pinfall win. Velvet and Hogan took out the other opponents before the move. It was about three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Baddies – Jade Cargill, Red Velvet & Kiera Hogan
Analysis: * Easy win to put over Cargill’s team since Cargill is undefeated. Cargill could use a feud, but it’s tough to get one in AEW where they only have one women’s match per show.
Darby Allin and Swerve Strickland were interviewed by Tony Schiavone. Allin said that wasn’t him (Starks going to ringside), Swerve said he knew it wasn’t Darby and he was rooting for Darby to win the tournament while mentioning they were both from the northwest. Swerve said it just gives him more reason to go after Swerve while saying he’ll talk to his buddy Keith Lee. Allin and Swerve touched knuckles to show they are okay.
Keith Lee vs. Colten Gunn (w/Austin Gunn)
Colten is the Gunn that looks more like daddy Billy while the other son Austin was at ringside. Lee used his power with a double chop to the chest. They went to a picture in picture break there while the fans chanted one more time and Lee wanted a double chop again, but Colten avoided it. Lee sent Colten face first into the turnbuckle. Austin distracted Lee a bit, then he did a necksnap across the top rope (the referee didn’t see it) and Colten hit a dropkick leading to Lee going to the floor. Colten needed Austin’s help to get the big man Lee back into the ring. The fans chanted “Ass Boys” to piss off the Gunn boys, then Lee with a double chop and Colten came back with a punch. Colten got a hug from Austin. They were back to full screen action with Lee missing a corner attack, Gunn tried jumping on him, Lee blocked him and Lee decked him with a forearm/punch to the face. Lee tossed Colten across the ring. Austin saved Colten from a corner splash, so Austin was knocked down by Lee. Colten tried a Fameasser, Lee avoided it and Lee hit a huge slam off the shoulders sometimes called Ground Zero by Lee. It went about seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Keith Lee
Analysis: *3/4 Easy win for Lee winning over a tag team wrestler. The time of the match was fine. AEW likes booking matches like this where they use midcard tag team wrestlers as guys to put over singles wrestlers they want to push. Lee needed the win, so it makes sense.
Matt and Jeff Hardy were interviewed by Tony Schiavone. Jeff gave a shoutout to the late, great Owen Hart while saying it was an honor to try to compete to be in the tournament. Jeff talked about beating Bobby Fish in the Owen Hart Cup tournament because Jeff is facing Bobby on Dynamite. Jeff talked about dream matches in the tournament. Matt said that there’s no way Bobby is going to qualify.
The Undisputed Elite five-man group of The Young Bucks, Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. Cole said there is no way that Jeff is beating Bobby next Wednesday on Dynamite. Fish called him “Jeff Hardly” saying his days are numbered and that’s elite.
Let’s Hear from Danhausen
Danhausen made his entrance telling us he was very evil. Danhausen walked out to the ring saying he was there to take out Hook. Danhausen called for them to “send Hook” so Hook made his entrance. Hook made his entrance for what appears to be some kind of confrontation. Hook got in Danhausen’s face. Danhausen suggests doing this another time, so Hook said they will do this right now.
Smart Mark Sterling interrupted asking if the fans wanted to see them fight, Sterling said he doesn’t and Tony Nese attacked Hook as well as Danhausen from behind. Hook got a takedown on Sterling, Nese did an eye gouge on Hook, but then Hook did an overhead suplex to send Nese out of the ring. Danhausen did his pointing thing at Nese and Sterling. The fans chanted “Hookhausen” for them. Danhausen wanted a handshake, Hook grabbed his shirt and shoved him away.
Analysis: They are obviously teasing Hook and Danhausen to be allies while Nese will apparently be Hook’s first feud. That should be an easy win for Hook, who hasn’t wrestled that much on TV. The AEW crowd loves the comedy gimmicks like Danhausen, so this appeals to a lot of them. I don’t necessarily love it, but it’s not that bad.
Colten and Austin Gunn were interviewed by Lexy Nair, who mentioned it was Colten’s first pinfall loss. Austin said it was Colten’s first singles match while adding that they proved they can do singles just like tags and trios matches. Max Caster and Anthony Bowens showed up saying they always win when they team together. Gunn Club left saying they had to go talk to dad.
Analysis: I like The Acclaimed a lot more than Gunn Club. That’s all I really think about that.
This Wednesday on AEW Dynamite in Baltimore:
* Bobby Fish vs. Jeff Hardy in an Owen Hart Tournament Qualifying Match. I pick Jeff Hardy.
* Wardlow vs. MJF’s Mystery Opponent (W. Morrissey aka former Big Cass).
* ROH Women’s Championship: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Mercedes Martinez. They showed some comments from Mercedes talking about the match.
* Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley & Wheeler Yuta) vs. The Butcher, The Blade & Angelico. Another easy win for BCC.
* Chris Jericho vs. Santana.
Next Friday on AEW Rampage:
* Dr. Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter vs. Toni Storm & Ruby Soho.
* Hook in action.
Mark Henry did the main event interview talking to Samoa Joe and Trent Beretta for a split-screen interview. Joe put over being in Philly, which was one of ROH’s main cities since Joe is the ROH TV Champion. Joe said that he will make Trent pass out before he walks out of this building. Trent said that people think he’s the underdog, but Joe is not going to kill him. That was it. Sure.
Analysis: That promo from Trent was weak.
Ian Riccaboni joined commentary for the match since he’s the voice of Ring of Honor and Joe is the ROH TV Champion. That means four guys at the table since Starks left earlier.
The ring announcer for the main event was Bobby Cruise, who is ROH’s long time ring announcer. Trent Beretta entered first with Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy joining him from the Best Friends group. Samoa Joe made his entrance with the ROH TV Title on his shoulder with the fans chanting “Joe” for him. The theme song is not as good as his WWE or TNA theme songs were.
ROH TV Championship: Samoa Joe vs. Trent Beretta (w/Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy)
Trent got a side headlock, Joe sent him into the ropes and Joe hit a running shoulder tackle to run over Trent. Joe worked over Trent with punches followed by a massive chop to the chest. Joe with a running back elbow along with a jumping kick to the head. Joe went for a running attack on the floor, Trent avoided it and kicked Joe in the chest. Trent hit a moonsault off the middle ropes onto Joe on the floor. Trent barely touched him, but it was enough for Joe to sell it. Trent went for a DDT on the floor, Joe blocked it and Joe knocked Trent down with a boot. They were in picture in picture action. Back in the ring, Joe chopped Trent, a kick to the chest and an elbow drop for two. Joe wrenched on the neck with a chinlock a bit, Trent got up and Joe ran him over with a running elbow. Joe mocked Cassidy by putting his hands in his pockets. Joe with a hard chop that knocked Trent down, so the fans chanted “one more time” and Joe delivered another hard chop to knock Trent down. Joe wrenched on Trent’s neck some more.
Joe wanted a Powerbomb, Trent slipped out of it landing on his feet and Trent hit a dropkick. Trent kicked Joe to knock him down to the floor. Trent went up top, he jumped off and hit a cross body block on Joe on the floor. They were back in the ring as they exchanged chops leading to Trent hitting a belly to back suplex. Trent hit a Tornado DDT off the ropes. Trent tried a lifting move, Joe blocked that and hit a huge Powerbomb. Joe applied an STF submission, but Trent got his right foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Trent chopped Joe, so Joe ran him over with a clothesline. Joe went for the Muscle Buster, but Trent slipped out and got a pin attempt for two. Trent with a running knee that sent Joe into the corner. Trent charged, Joe hit a uranage slam and Joe applied the Rear Naked Choke for the submission win after 10 minutes.
Winner by submission: Samoa Joe
Analysis: ***1/4 A very good match with Joe overpowering Trent using the submission for the win. Trent is a guy that is capable of having good matches with anybody, he’ll come close to winning and then lose just like he did here. Trent got that one rollup counter for a two count that was good for a nearfall. Other than that, it was all about Joe dominating the match and getting the decisive win.
Post match, Joe shook Trent’s hand because that’s the Code of Honor in ROH.
Samoa Joe was interviewed in the ring by Tony Schiavone, who congratulated Joe on the win. Jay Lethal interrupted with Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh. The giant Singh walked down to ringside with Orange Cassidy getting in his face…sort of. Cassidy was only up to Singh’s chest. Lethal went after Joe in the ring while referees and other officials tried to break it up. Singh stayed on the floor. Joe and Lethal kept going after eachother until they were separated. That was the end of the show.
Analysis: They are doing a nice job of building to a big match between Joe and Lethal. It should be good whenever they do it.
Three Stars of the Show
- Samoa Joe
- Darby Allin/Swerve Strickland
- Trent Beretta
This Week: 7 out of 10
Last Week: 6.75
It was a solid wrestling show. I liked the Swerve/Allin match to open since they did some fun spots and had a good finish with Allin getting the win. I also liked Samoa Joe’s match with Trent. The other matches were shorter and simple.
They furthered some stories this week, but not as much star power as the last few weeks of Rampage.
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