This week’s AEW Rampage featured an incredible tag team match between The Young Bucks and Lucha Brothers while the AEW World Champion CM Punk had a sad announcement to make.
It’s Friday and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Taz, Chris Jericho and Adam Cole. As usual on Rampage, it is right to the action.
The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. Lucha Brothers (Penta Oscuro & Rey Fenix)
This is the Young Bucks hometown, so they were being cheered along with “AEW” chants and the Bucks get to face their favorite opponents that they have wrestled many times. I thought their steel cage match last year was the AEW match of the year.
Penta and Matt shoved eachother in the face multiple times leading to Penta throwing the dreaded glove in the face. Matt and Penta each countered some moves, Penta kicked Matt away, Penta with a drop tole hold and an armbar, but Matt got out of it. They went for pin attempts, then got back up and stared down. Fenix tagged in against Nick as the younger brothers battled with Nick getting the arm drag off the ropes. Fenix went for a Powerbomb to the floor, but Nick blocked it and they each missed kicks on the floor. Back in the ring, they kicked eachother in the face followed by both guys doing kip-ups to get back up. Nick wanted a handshake, Fenix shook the hand and Matt hit Fenix with a forearm to the back. The Bucks hit a double team kick/splash combo in the corner. Matt wit ha running kick on Fenix followed by Nick hitting a twisting dive onto Fenix. Penta came back with a somersault dive onto both heels on the floor. Fenix went up top, he jumped off with the twisting splash called a tornedo and all four guys were down. Who was legal and do tags matter? I guess not. Lots of incredible action. Back in the ring, Matt went for a Sharpshooter, Fenix got to the ropes and then Penta went after Nick with a submission in the ropes. Nick with a running kick on the apron on Fenix. Nick with a headscissors on Penta on the floor. Matt tried a dive onto Fenix on the floor, Fenix moved and Fenix hit a Cutter on the floor. The fans chanted “this is awesome” because it is. Fenix jumped off the top with a splash attempt on Matt, but Matt got he knees up to block. They went to a 90-second picture in picture commercial break.
(Commercial – There was a spot during the break with Penta getting a double foot stomp on Nick to the groin area for a two count. Nick avoided a double team attack and did an impressive armdrag headscissors takedown.)
It was back to full screen with Matt tagging back in leading to his locomotion Northern Lights Suplexes three times on Fenix. Penta walked over to them, so Matt hit a double Northern Lights Suplex on both opponents. Nick jumped off the top with a senton bomb for a two count. Fenix with a headscissors on Matt, Penta tripped up Nick and Fenix with a double foot stomp into a DDT combination on the floor. That was on Nick. The Lucha Bros focused on Matt where they did a foot stomp DDT on Matt in the ring for a two count. Fenix hit a somersault suicide dive onto Nick on the floor. Penta with a pumphandle spinning slam in the ring on Matt. Fenix went up top, did an Eddie Guerrero shake and hit a Frog Splash off the top for a two count. Fenix set up Matt on the top rope leading to a jumping kick to the head. Penta had his brother Fenix on his shoulders, the Bucks fought them off with Nick hitting a springboard dropkick and Fenix did a reverse rana on his brother Penta! That’s a bit silly even for these guys. Matt jumped off the top with an elbow drop on Fenix for a two count. Good nearfall. Fenix with a spinning kick, Penta with a kick and Fenix went on Penta’s shoulders with Fenix jumping with a splash. Penta with a Destroyer on Matt to prevent a save and Fenix got the cover on Nick for a two count. What an amazing spot! Fenix hit a spin kick on Nick, then Nick countered a move to a pin. Nick hit a reverse rana on Fenix. Penta in illegally, so the Bucks hit a double superkick on him. Bucks hit a double superkick on Fenix as well. Fenix avoided a BTE trigger, the Bucks caught him and Matt did the piledriver while Nick jumped off the ropes for the Meltzer Driver for a two count. Penta was a bit slow to break it up, so Fenix kicked out (I think) right before the three count. Penta did his “Cero Miedo” thing to Matt, so Matt ripped his mask off! Penta put his head down, the Bucks hit a double superkick on Penta and he was down. The Bucks hit a BTE Trigger on Fenix for the pinfall win.
Winners by pinfall: The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)
Analysis: ****1/2 These guys are incredible. What an excellent match that could be one of the best TV matches of the year. There were so many incredible nearfalls from both sides, so it could have gone either way. There was plenty of moments where they ignored the rules and had all four guys in the ring doing spots, but that’s just expected when it comes to these teams. I didn’t like the spot where Nick hit a dropkick and Fenix did a reverse (or poison) rana on Penta. That looks too silly. Just fall backward in a natural position without doing a reverse hurricanrana on your own partner. I really liked the finishing spot since it was heelish with Matt taking off Penta’s mask and then beating Fenix right after that. Since Penta was so busy worrying about his mask being off, it took care of them and allowed the Bucks to beat Fenix. The Bucks lost to The Hardys at Double or Nothing, but it wouldn’t shock me if we see the Bucks get a title shot sooner rather than later.
The Young Bucks celebrated the win with Matt putting on Penta’s mask. Excalibur said that in Mexico taking off the mask would be disqualification. Nick celebrated with some family and friends at ringside.
Powerhouse Hobbs & Ricky Starks vs. Two Guys With No Chance
Starks and Hobbs attacked their opponents before the bell rang. The referee still called for the bell. Hobbs decked a guy with a clothesline and a spinebuster. There was a pre-tape promo from Starks and Hobbs, but I paid attention to the match. Starks hit a Spear on the other guy, so Hobbs got the pinfall win in about one minute.
Winners by pinfall: Powerhouse Hobbs & Ricky Starks
Analysis: 1/4* Just a squash match to put over the pushed team of Hobbs & Starks over a couple of jobbers.
The commentary team was Excalibur, Taz and Chris Jericho for the rest of the show. Adam Cole was only on for the first match. They showed CM Punk beating Adam Page to win the AEW World Title on Sunday. There’s a CM Punk announcement coming up.
Kiera Hogan made her entrance with Jade Cargill, Red Velvet and the publicist Stokely Hathaway. There was a promo from Stokely saying that Kiera is going to send Athena to the back of the line where she belongs. The “Fallen Goddess” Athena made her entrance for her AEW debut match.
Kiera Hogan (w/Jade Cargill, Red Velvet & Stokely Hathaway) vs. Athena
Athena with an impressive punch, then Hogan sent her across the ring and Athena landed on her feet. Athena hit a springboard cross body block. Hogan to the floor, Athena wanted to do a dive to the floor, but Hogan wasn’t in the right spot, so Athena went to the apron and did a shoulder tackle. Taz tried to cover for it saying she “faked her out with the stoppage” but it was clearly supposed to be a dive there. Athena got in Jade’s face at ringside. Athena went for a move on the apron, Velvet grabbed her feet and the referee never saw it. Hogan hit a leg drop to the back of the head for two. They went to a picture in picture break.
Hogan was in control with a chinlock, Athena got a hold of her head and did a snapmare that sent both women hard into the mat. Athena (admittedly I wrote Moon before correcting it) hit a dropkick, then some kicks and an enziguri kick to the head. Athena with a handspring elbow. Athena up top, she kicked Velvet down and Hogan pulled Athena’s leg to take her down. Hogan hit an impressive diving hurricanrana off the ropes followed by a running kick for two. Athena punched Hogan, but Hogan hit the ropes when Athena went up top. Athena punched Hogan down, Athena jumped off the top and hit the Diving Cutter off the top that we used to know as The Eclipse for the pinfall win after nine minutes. Great finishing move.
Winner by pinfall: Athena
Analysis: **1/4 It was just an average match to get Athena the win to give her some positive momentum after making her AEW debut. There were some sloppy parts of the match, but it was good by the end. I’ve always Athena has been great as a face due to how well she sells moves and the moves she does look believable as well. Part of the reason why Cargill has allies is because they can lose matches to build up contenders that would get to face Cargill. It’s the same thing AEW did when Britt Baker was champion and women would beat Jamie Hayter before getting to Baker.
Athena celebrated the win while Cargill and friends left.
The House of Black group did a darkened room promo with Malakai Black telling his group members to rise, sot here was Brody King and Buddy Matthews along with Julia Hart. Black said that this was not a stroke of luck, it was a carefully executed plan. Hart told us to celebrate because this is what you wanted and these are the fruits of your labor.
Let’s Hear from CM Punk
It was “Cult of Personality” tie as the AEW World Champion CM Punk made his entrance with Excalibur saying that it seemed like Punk sustained an injury on Dynamite this past Wednesday. Punk was walking slowly on his way to the ring. Punk had the AEW World Title around his waist. Huge ovation for Punk as usual. Punk was dressed in a plain white t-shirt and jeans instead of one of his shirts. Punk had some tears in his eyes as he thought about what he wanted to say.
Punk said that when he pulled up to the arena, every bone in his body was screaming at him to go home and hug his wife and Larry (the dog). When he means every bone in his body, he means the broken ones. Punk said that everybody deserved an explanation on what happened. Punk said since he stepped foot in AEW, he’d give us his all until the wheels fall off. Punk claimed to have good news and bad news, so what do you want first? Punk talked about how the last thing he ever wanted to feel was like he let us down or leave us feeling disappointed. Punk said he hopes he hasn’t made us feel that way. Punk talked about how he has loved every single second he’s been in this ring in front of the fans and it’s been a gift that he never though he’d be able to experience ever again. A lot of the crowd was standing as they chanted “CM Punk” for him while Punk had tears in his eyes.
Punk said that the bad news is that he’s injured and he needs surgery. Punk said a couple of things are broken, the biggest one is his heart because he loves nothing more than performing in front of us and he wanted to go on one hell of a run. The good news is he can still do all that. Punk said he told us he was going to go until the wheels fall off, but they are still there and they have not falling off while adding that one of them is broken. Punk said he’s come back from worse and he’s felt a lot worse. Punk said it hurts because he wants to wrestler for us right now.
Punk spoke about the AEW World Championship. Punk said he told Tony (Khan) that he didn’t want to hold this place up because there’s a laundry list of talent that can be champion. Punk named Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley and he’s not here to stand in anybody’s way. Punk said that Tony told him that he believes in CM Punk and it’s just a bump in the road. Punk said he needed to hear that. There was another “CM Punk” chant. Punk said sometimes he gets a little down on himself and that doubt creeps in. Punk said he won’t let that doubt creep in, he won’t let it ruin anything and “the get back is going to be bigger than the setback.” Punk said he’s champion for a reason and he’ll show us exactly why. Punk ended on a strong note: “I will come back bigger, faster, stronger and hungrier than ever before and god dammit I will prove exactly why I am the best in the world!” Punk held up the AEW World Title to cheers from the crowd.
Analysis: That sucks. That’s my immediate reaction as a fan of CM Punk for nearly 20 years. I don’t love everything that he has done or said in his career, but I genuinely like the guy and hate that he got hurt at a time when he was performing at a high level again. I loved the match at Double or Nothing. I was looking forward to what’s next and now it’s on pause. Punk didn’t specify what the injury is exactly, but it is believed a broken foot or that surgery is needed on his ankle. As Punk said, he needs surgery on it, so he’ll probably be out a few months at least. I would expect that we will learn more about it in the weeks ahead. Punk could have been a bit more specific during his speech here although it’s okay because it was clearly an emotional moment for him.
Analysis x2: As for the future of the World Title, there was a lot of confusion on the broadcast after Punk’s speech. What they are going to do is have Punk keep the AEW World Title, then they’ll crown an interim World Champion and when Punk is ready, he’ll likely have a match with whoever the Interim World Champion is. That’s how UFC does it when a champion gets hurt or something happens. It’s not how other wrestling companies do it, but it’s how AEW is going to handle this situation. I think he should vacate and then you crown a new champion. Not my call, though.
It was main event interview time with Dante Martin and Scorpio Sky being interviewed on the split screen with Mark Henry doing the interview. It was the usual trash talk with Matt Sydal supporting Martin while Sky had Ethan Pag and Scorpio Sky with him. Henry ended it with his line: “It’s time for the main event.”
Dante Martin made his entrance with his mentor Matt Sydal by his side. Sky is from the state of California, so he got a bit of a pop even as a heel champion. Sky had on LA Lakers tights and the TNT Title is also in those purple/gold colors of the Lakers. Jericho said that Punk had to relinquish the AEW World Title, which wasn’t correct and he corrected himself on Twitter after the show.
TNT Championship: Scorpio Sky (w/Ethan Page & Dan Lambert) vs. Dante Martin (w/Matt Sydal)
They were similar in size although Sky has about 20 years of experience while Martin is in his early 20s. Sky ran over Martin a few times with shoulder tackles. Martin got some offense with an armdrag leading to an armbar. They went to a picture in picture break.
It was back to full screen with about four minutes left. Martin jumped over a charging Sky, then a dropkick that sent Sky out of the ring and Martin hit a springboard leap off the top onto Sky on the floor. Back in the ring, Martin went up top and hit a missile dropkick off the top. Excalibur made some comments about what will happen on Dynamite and I’ll put it after the match. Lambert distracted the referee Page held onto Martin’s leg and then Sydal jumped on Page on the floor. Sky went for a TKO, Martin got out of it and Martin hit a TKO for a two count. Martin with a cross body block, Sky rolled through and covered for a two count. Martin with a double foot stomp to the chest for a two count. Sky sent Martin into the top rope, then Sky picked up Martin and did a lazy cover for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Scorpio Sky
Analysis: *** It was a good match between two talented athletes although they weren’t given enough time to really show what they can do. They only got about four minutes after the commercial break, so they had to rush through some high spots at that point. Martin came close to winning a few times with his exciting offense, but then the veteran Sky managed to come back for the win. The finish wasn’t that interesting.
During that match, Excalibur said (via Tony Khan) that there will be a battle royal to kick off Dynamite on Wednesday. The winner of the battle royal will face Jon Moxley in the main event of Dynamite. The winner of Moxley’s match against the battle royal winner will have a shot at the Interim AEW World Championship at the Forbidden Door PPV on Sunday, June 26. That means they’ll crown an Interim AEW World Championship at the Forbidden Door PPV, but not before that.
Analysis: I think Bryan Danielson should win the battle royal and also beat Moxley in the main event on Dynamite. They’re allies, but that should be a great match. Put the Interim AEW World Title on Danielson.
Scorpio Sky celebrated with his TNT Title along with Ethan Page and Dan Lambert. The announcers shilled what was coming up. That was the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- CM Punk – Get well soon, champ.
- The Young Bucks
- Lucha Brothers
This Week: 7.5 out of 10
Last Week: 7
That match between The Young Bucks and Lucha Brothers was incredible. I’ve seen those teams have a few classics in the last few years. This wasn’t as long as their epic Steel Cage Match last year, but it was still a lot of fun to watch and they did some incredible moves. The Young Bucks winning in their hometown was probably a big moment for them too. It was definitely one of the best AEW TV matches of the year. I rated it very highly.
Obviously, the big story was CM Punk announcing that he needs surgery (believed to be on his foot) and he’ll be out of action for an undetermined amount of time. I thought AEW did a poor job of explaining the AEW World Title situation. CM Punk could have said it or they could have an announcer clarify the situation better than what they did. They should have made it clear right away that the title is not being vacated and that they are going with an interim champion. Instead, viewers were left confused. During the main event, Excalibur was screaming about how there’s a battle royal on Dynamite, then that guy faces Moxley in the main event and then there’s a match for the Interim World Title at Forbidden Door. All of it could have been announced a lot better.
The other matches were just okay. Athena got her first win while there was a squash match and then Scorpio Sky kept his TNT Title against Dante Martin in a match that didn’t even get ten minutes in the main event.
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