This week’s AEW Rampage featured Bryan Danielson vs. Matt Sydal in the opener, plus the main event was the semifinals of the Women’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament with Kris Statlander facing Ruby Soho.
Rampage aired at 6:30pm ET this week, so it was 3.5 hours before the usual start time due to the NHL Playoffs on TNT. I am posting this on Saturday morning. We will have our very long AEW Double or Nothing preview posted on Saturday afternoon.
It’s Friday and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Taz, and Ricky Starks.
Bryan Danielson vs. Matt Sydal
William Regal was a guest on commentary for this match. What I like about Rampage is they get right to the action with the match starting in the first minute of the show. Bryan got a snapmare followed by a knee drop. Sydal with a snapmare takeover. Bryan got a takedown leading to a backbreaker. Bryan with uppercuts. Bryan hooked his legs into the back of Sydal’s legs like in a surfboard spot and rolled around the ring a bit. Bryan ran the ropes, Sydal with a leapfrog and a Sydal hit a spinning heel kick. Sydal hit a standing moonsault as they went to a picture in picture 90-second break.
The match returned with Sydal landing on his feet after a snapmare followed by a jumping knee to the face. Sydal went for a spin kick, Bryan caught him and Sydal hit a hurricanrana for a two count. Sydal faked with a low kick, so Bryan tried to defend that and Sydal kicked Bryan in the head for a two count. They battled on the turnbuckle, Sydal knocked Bryan down and Sydal hit a Meteora (double knees) on Bryan, but Bryan caught him and turned it into a half crab. Bryan dragged Sydal into the middle of the ring and pulled back on the leg, but Sydal fought it off. Bryan applied into a kneebar submission with a heel hook and Sydal got to the ropes to break free. Bryan delivered hard kicks to the chest while setting up Sydal on the top rope in a seated position. Bryan went for a belly to back suplex that Sydal turned into a sunset flip Powerbomb with a stacked pin for…two! That was really close. Awesome spot there. The crowd was coming alive at this point. Bryan with uppercuts, Sydal with a backslide pin for two and Sydal hit a jumping knee. Bryan avoided a kick leading to the running Busaiko Knee to the face. Bryan delivered the elbow strikes to the head while applying a choke submission and wrapping the legs around the body. The referee called for the bell for the submission win for Danielson after 11 minutes.
Winner by submission: Bryan Danielson
Analysis: ***3/4 A great match with Bryan showing off his technical wrestling skills as usual. Sydal had no chance of winning as we all knew as soon as the match started. There were still a few nearfalls for Sydal that made it look like he had a shot. Specifically, that Powerbomb off the top was awesome. The finish was great with Bryan avoiding a kick and hitting the running knee that Bryan has used to win so many matches in his career. Bryan opted for the choke out finish for the win. I enjoyed it because Bryan always has awesome matches as long as he gets the time to show what he can do and they always give him time in AEW.
There was a quick video about Hook teaming with Danhausen at Double or Nothing on the Buy-In Pre-Show when they face Tony Nese and Smart Mark Sterling. It hasn’t gotten that much TV time, but the fans seem to care.
The Hardys music hit with The Young Bucks doing a Hardy cosplay entrance with Matt Jackson as Matt Hardy (the older brother) and Nick Jackson as Jeff Hardy (the younger brother). They also had Gangrel with them. Gangrel and The Hardys were on screen together as The New Brood in WWE for a few months in 1999. It really wasn’t that long, but since way more people watched wrestling in that year, it’s always going to be remembered. Anyway, Gangrel and The Young Bucks as The Hardys got a big ovation from the crowd full of the adult males that love nostalgia. Brandon Cutler was also in a silly outfit. Matt tripped over the top while posing on the ropes, but the camera missed it by cutting away to another shot. Matt Hardy did that once in WWE, so Matt Jackson was trying to parody that…and the camera missed it…because AEW. It would have been funny if they showed it.
The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. Jon Cruz & Taylor Rust
You may remember Rust from when he was in NXT. If you didn’t watch NXT then that’s on you. He’s a solid wrestler. Nick with a shoulder tackle along with some Jeff posing. Nick with the double legdrop followed by a dropkick like Jeff. Matt tagged in, Jeff jumped off the back and hit the Poetry in Motion corner attack. Matt with a body slam. Matt was up top, then went to the middle rope and Matt hit an elbow off the middle rope. Rust tagged in with a dropkick, then a knee to the ribs and a scissors kick. Rust ran right into a double superkick by the Bucks. Cruz tagged in, he jumped off the top, the Bucks moved and the Bucks hit a double superkick. Matt hit a Twist of Fate. Nick tagged in, went up top and hit the Swanton Bomb for the pinfall win after three minutes. That looked great.
Winner by pinfall: The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)
Analysis: *1/2 A fun match with The Young Bucks doing the Hardys cosplay look and they did it very well. That’s not a surprise because they are like the Hardys in a lot of ways. Nick’s Swanton Bomb for the finish looked perfect.
Post match, Gangrel went into the ring to raise the hands of The Young Bucks. However, The Young Bucks attacked him from behind with Brandon Cutler filming it. The fans booed that. The Young Bucks set up for the BTE Trigger, but here comes The Hardys slowly for the save. They walked calmly to the ring instead of running. The Hardys got in the ring with the Bucks, The Hardys wanted a Twist of Fate, but Cutler saved his partner leading to the Bucks leaving to the ring. Cutler was wearing an outfit that looked like a thong hanging out of his pants like Lita used to wear. That’s just wrong! Anyway, Gangrel kicked Cutler and hit an Impaler DDT. Matt hit a Twist of Fate on Cutler. Jeff went up top and hit a Swanton Bomb on Cutler. The Bucks were in the aisle talking trash ahead of their match. The Hardys celebrated with their buddy Gangrel in the ring.
Analysis: I think they did a pretty good job of building up The Young Bucks vs. The Hardys match at Double or Nothing. The weird thing is they didn’t get that much TV time on Dynamite for it. A lot of it was just quick promos or online videos because they probably knew that fans are going to be into it, so AEW could invest in other things at Double or Nothing. Anyway, I expect it to be a fun match with a hot crowd.
There was a promo from Darby Allin saying it wasn’t Adam Cole, Bobby Fish or The Young Bucks – it was Kyle O’Reilly, who took out Sting. Allin challenged Kyle to a match at Double or Nothing and if he doesn’t accept the match then Allin will interfere in Cole’s match and Young Bucks match. Allin said he’ll make their night a living hell, so let’s make it official: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Darby Allin at Double or Nothing.
Analysis: The match is official now. I don’t know why it took them so long to announce it, but there it is. Maybe Tony Khan forgot about Darby and realized he needs to be on the PPV, so he’s there now.
Max Caster did a promo on the way to the ring with Austin & Colten Gunn along with Billy Gunn there with Anthony Bowens in a wheelchair since Bowens had knee surgery. Caster ripped on Dante Martin saying he’ll put him on the shelf like his brother is and said he’s getting beat by Acclaimed and the Ass Boys. Austin didn’t like the “Ass Boys” name. The Ass Boys said “Los Angeles” to piss off the crowd by saying the wrong city and Bowens said “Las Vegas.” Bowens led the crowd in chanting “Ass Boys.”
Dante Martin did a springboard cross body block onto Caster and the other heels on the floor. Billy Gunn got his hands on Martin and drove him into the ring.
Max Caster vs. Dante Martin
The bell rang with referee Aubrey Edwards ejecting Gunn Club and Bowens from ringside. Martin went for a springboard off the ropes, but Caster kicked him in the leg. Caster got a nearfall and they went to a picture in picture break.
Caster hit a belly to back suplex. Caster went up top, jumped off with nothing because Martin moved and Martin got a sunset flip for two. Martin got a rollup for two. Martin with some weak-looking elbow strikes, then a kick to the head and Martin hit a cross body block off the top for a two count. Martin blocked a head kick, then Martin snapped the neck against the ropes and Martin hit the double moonsault on a standing Caster called the Nosedive for the pinfall win. It got about six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dante Martin
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match featuring two young guys. Martin beats people that are lower than him on the card, but he loses to the bigger names. I like Martin’s finisher. Neither guy is part of the PPV with 13 matches on it, so it shows they are not that high on the priority list right now.
A video package aired about the Men’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Finals with Samoa Joe facing Adam Cole, who said he was a world class professional wrestler that will be a franchise player for this company for years to come. Cole said he’ll remind us who he is. Joe said he’s the ROH TV Champion and Cole’s time is near. There wasn’t much to that. Cole tried hard. Joe kind of mailed it in with a light promo.
Let’s Hear from Scorpio Sky and Friends
The trio of TNT Champion Scorpio Sky, Dan Lambert and Ethan Page were in the ring for a promo. Lambert insulted the fans a bit, then Page was holding the new TNT Title with a cover and Sky revealed the colors. It was purple and gold like the LA Lakers since Sky is from Los Angeles. Sammy Guevara was at American Top Team (Lambert’s gym) with Tay Conti and Frankie Kazarian. They saw a collection of belts, so they broke the glass and stole some titles that Lambert had on display. They were UFC titles along with Sammy holding the BMF Title. They said if Men of the Year wanted the belts back then they’ll be in Vegas on Sunday while saying they should bring Paige Vanzant too. Sky said that they’ve got the match: Sky, Page & Vanzant vs. Sammy, Frankie & Tay. Sky said if they win then Sammy and Frankie can never challenge for this title again.
Analysis: That’s yet another match added to the Double or Nothing card with a lot of matches already. I honestly don’t care much about the match or the storyline, which has gone on too long and was boring from the beginning. I like Sky and Page together. I just wish they would do something else.
Ruby Soho and Kris Statlander did a split-screen interview with Mark Henry for the main event. Ruby said she needs to win the tournament. Kris said she’s been there since the beginning, she’s had injuries, she’s had people turn on her and she has nothing to show for it. Kris said that she won’t let this opportunity slip like she’s let other opportunities slip. Henry did his “it’s time for the main event” line to end it.
They did a rundown of the Double or Nothing card. Check the full lineup at the bottom of this post.
Women’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Semifinals: Kris Statlander vs. Ruby Soho
Kris did a shoulder tackle since she’s the taller woman. Ruby tried a takedown, but she couldn’t do it and Kris hit a shoulder tackle again. When Kris was by the ropes, Ruby was about to throw a punch, but then she stopped. Ruby with an armdrag across the ring, Kris stopped another armdrag, Ruby with a kick to the knee and Kris hit a clothesline. They went to a picture in picture break.
There were about five minutes left as Kris hit a running forearm in the corner. Kris went for a move off the ropes, but Ruby countered with a hurricanrana off the ropes. Ruby charged and Kris hit a Powerbomb for a two count. Kris charged into the corner, Ruby moved and Kris went shoulder-first into the turnbuckle. Kris tried a press slam, so Ruby hit the No Future kick that knocked Kris out of the ring. Ruby with a hurricanrana on the floor. Back in the ring, Ruby with an elbow strike and Ruby hit an armbar on the left arm while driving the arm to the mat. Ruby applied an armbar, but Kris got her foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Ruby was on the shoulders going for something only for Kris to swing her forward into the turnbuckle. Kris hit a rolling German Suplex. Kris hit a sitout Jackhammer-style suplex for a two count with Ruby kicking out at the last moment. Kris with a clothesline. Ruby broke free with kicks to the left shoulder that Kris hurt earlier and Ruby got a cradle hooking the arms/legs for the pinfall win after about 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ruby Soho
Analysis: ***1/4 They worked hard and had a competitive match. I think Statlander was more impressive with the moves that she did, but they went with Ruby getting the win probably because she was in the tournament to begin with while Kris was a replacement. Anyway, Statlander sold the arm injury well, Ruby kept attacking it and Kris sold it well even when she was doing offensive moves. The finish with the rollup hooking the limbs tells us that it was a close matchup the whole way with Ruby barely getting the win.
Britt Baker walked on the stage (wearing a Johnny Depp Pirates of the Caribbean shirt) for a promo, but she didn’t say a word. Ruby told her to put that microphone down because we’ve heard Britt talking for two years, which led to boos while saying they don’t want to hear it. The fans booed Ruby for that. Ruby said that Kris is her friend, she loves her and respects her and you see what Ruby did to her (win by a cradle?). The fans were booing Ruby for what she was saying. Ruby said she’s going to hurt Britt real bad. Ruby told Britt she has a receipt coming since AEW Dynamite Grand Slam (last September) and at Double or Nothing, she’s cashing in that damn receipt. End show.
Analysis: The fans see Baker as a big star, so having Ruby tell her to shut up made the fans angry and they booed Ruby before she could speak. That was not the response that AEW was looking for.
Three Stars of the Show
- Bryan Danielson
- Ruby Soho/Kris Statlander
- Matt Sydal
This Week: 7 out of 10
Last Week: 6.75
A solid show that featured a great match with Bryan Danielson beating Matt Sydal in the opener. The result was obvious. They did some good spots in the match including an incredible Powerbomb off the top by Sydal. Bryan ended up picking up the submission win. Ruby Soho beating Kris Statlander to make the Women’s Owen Hart Cup finals is fine with me. Interesting how the crowd booed Ruby for not letting Britt Baker talk at the end.
The Young Bucks doing a parody of The Hardys with Gangrel was a nice touch. I laughed at that. They also debuted yet another new look for the TNT Title that has changed many times over the years.
The next AEW pay-per-view is Double or Nothing from Las Vegas on Sunday, May 29. Here’s the lineup:
AEW World Championship: “Hangman” Adam Page (c) vs. CM Punk
Anarchy in the Arena 10-Man Tag Team Match: Jericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho, Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, Daniel Garcia & Jake Hager) vs. Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley), Eddie Kingston, Santana, & Ortiz (with William Regal)
AEW Tag Team Championships: Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) (c) vs. Team Taz (Ricky Starks & Powerhouse Hobbs) vs. Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland
AEW Women’s Championship: Thunder Rosa (c) vs. Serena Deeb
Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Wardlow – If Wardlow wins, he will be granted his release from his contract with MJF. If MJF wins, Wardlow will be permanently banned from signing with AEW.
Men’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Finals: Adam Cole vs. Samoa Joe
Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. The Hardys (Matt & Jeff Hardy)
House of Black – Malakai Black, Brody King & Buddy Matthews vs. Death Triangle – Penta Oscuro, Rey Fenix & Pac
Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page & Paige Vanzant vs. Sammy Guevara, Frankie Kazarian & Tay Conti
TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (c) vs. Anna Jay
Darby Allin vs. Kyle O’Reilly
Women’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Finals: Dr. Britt Baker vs. Ruby Soho
Pre-Show BUY-IN: Hook & Danhausen vs. Tony Nese & Smart Mark Sterling
If you need info on how to order Double or Nothing on PPV, check out AEW’s website for info on how to watch it in your country.
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