This week’s AEW Rampage featured a six-man tag team match with Jay Lethal’s group dealing with some Best Friends along with a women’s main event with Anna Jay facing Ruby Soho.
This is AEW Rampage from the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was taped after Dynamite on Wednesday. Check out the AEW PPV listing archive only on TJRWrestling as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
It’s Friday night and you know what that means. Jim Ross was on commentary with Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and the yeller Chris Jericho as if this show needs four announcers. Guys, just stop at three at the most for the one-hour B show. It’s enough. It’s also a Fight for the Fallen show.
Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt & Satnam Singh vs. Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor
Dutt was wearing a suit and tie since he’s not an active wrestler anymore. Jericho screamed about how he still hates Orange Cassidy. Lethal and Trent started as they exchanged some pin attempts. Orange tagged in doing his lazy man routine with the fans cheering him as Orange pointed out Singh to face him, so Dutt tagged in instead. Dutt gave his jacket and tie to the referee while Cassidy put his sunglasses on referee Rick Knox. Singh tagged in, Orange did a dropkick that had no effect and Singh chopped Orange in the chest. Chuck and Trent went into the ring illegally, which led to Singh hitting a running cross body block on both guys. They went to a picture in picture break for 90 seconds.
Lethal was trying to keep Orange from tagging out, but Orange broke free and walked over to his team to make a tag. Chuck with a belly to belly suplex that sent Lethal across the ring. Trent tagged in, then the boot to the face and half n half suplex combination. Singh grabbed Chuck and Trent, so they dropkicked him to the knees. Chuck and Trent hugged like idiots, so Lethal hit the double Lethal Injection on both of them. Orange tagged in with a cross body block on Lethal followed by a Tornado DDT. Dutt tagged in, he tried to attack with a pencil, then Dutt did some comedy kicks of his own and Orange broke the pencil. The fans reacted to that as if it was a big deal. Orange with the Orange Punch on Dutt for the pinfall win after about eight minutes. Best Friends were holding Singh’s leg to prevent him from making the save. That was good at least.
Winners by pinfall: Orange Cassidy, Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor
Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average tag team match with some comedy spots thrown in there. Singh was protected because he barely did anything in the match although I think it’s a bad idea to have him on the losing end of a match. Dutt losing is fine because he’s a non-wrestler at this point, so it’s expected that he would get pinned in this kind of match.
Post match, Singh choked Orange, then Trent got involved and Singh ran over Trent with a shoulder tackle. Lethal hit the Lethal Injection on Orange while Singh was holding Orange. Wardlow made the save with his TNT Championship. Wardlow dared Lethal, Singh and Dutt to fight him, but Dutt made his guys back away.
Analysis: It teases a future match between TNT Champion Wardlow and Jay Lethal. It’s worth pointing out that Lethal just lost the ROH TV Title match to Samoa Joe, yet somehow he’s going to get a shot at the TNT Title in the near future. It’s just a guy for Wardlow to beat.
There was a video shown of FTR beating The Briscoes in an incredible 2/3 Falls match to keep the ROH Tag Team Titles. It was another classic match. I didn’t write about it, but it was somewhere in the 4.5* and 5* range. Maybe I’ll review it some time soon.
Ethan Page vs. Leon Ruffin
When Ruffin was in NXT he was Leon Ruff. He’s 0-5 in AEW. Page worked over Leon with forearms to the face along with a shoulder tackle. The announcers put over Page as Page whipped Leon into the turnbuckle. Leon avoided Page, but Page caught him and Page hit him with a forearm. They showed Stokely Hathaway watching with Layla Grey. Page picked up Leon and gave him the Ego’s Edge release Razor’s Edge for the pinfall win. Page said “I hate this place” as he did the move. It was under two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ethan Page
Analysis: 1/2* A squash match. I think Ethan Page is the worst booked wrestler in AEW just based on how talented he is in the ring as well as a promo guy. I don’t think I’m biased just because he’s Canadian like me. I just believe that AEW doesn’t use him well at all. Beating a guy like Ruffin doesn’t mean much.
Cole Karter was interviewed by Lexy Nair backstage with QT Marshall and his crew talking to him. Marshall said that Karter was hanging around with the wrong crowd when he left AEW and he suggested that Karter joins The Factory in AEW. Marshall told Karter to sleep on it, but in his own bed, not with the fishes. Karter said nothing.
Lee Moriarty vs. Matt Sydal
Lee beat Sydal’s friend Dante Martin last week on Rampage by putting his hand on the rope, so Sydal didn’t like that and challenged him to this match. Both guys got no reaction for their entrances. Jericho was screaming about how he doesn’t want peace in pro wrestling, he wants war instead. Lee with a headbutt to the jaw, a kick to the face and a suplex. Sydal worked over Lee with some kicks to the body. Sydal hit a spin kick as they went to a picture in picture break.
They did a spot with Sydal doing a hurricanrana, but Lee rolled through into a sunset flip for two. Sydal avoided the kick, then he hit his own kick to the head and Lee hit a stiff lariat to the head. Sydal came back with a kick to the head followed by the Lightning Spiral neckbreaker for a two count. Stokely Hathaway made his way down to the ring to support Lee after Hathaway offered Lee his card last week. Sydal battled Lee on the top rope, Lee went down grabbing his foot so the referee checked on him and Hathaway grabbed Sydal’s foot. That allowed Lee to hit the turnbuckle causing Sydal to get crotched on the top rope. Lee hit a lifting flatliner for two. Good nearfall. Lee with forearm shots to the head, then a Crossface submission called the Border City Stretch for the tapout win after about eight minutes.
Winner by submission: Lee Moriarty
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match to put over the younger heel Moriarty, who is a good talent that’s on the rise. Sydal doesn’t really win that much during televised matches. The announcers treated the submission win as a big deal. I have written this many times before about AEW shows, but why not go to picture in picture break while the guys are making their entrance? Maybe you don’t show the first minute of the match. Then when you come back from break you can show the full eight-minute match on full screen instead only five minutes full screen. Maybe it’s part of the contract to have picture in picture during matches, but I think it’s a poor use of time.
After the match, Stokely Hathaway handed Lee Moriarty his business card and Lee took it. They piped in some fake crowd booing because the fans likely didn’t even react to it.
The duo of Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. did a promo with Rebel. Baker said that Thunder Rosa’s title reign might come to an end and she said that Rosa is smart to keep Toni Storm by her side. Britt also criticized Toni for hanging out with Rosa as a friend. Britt said she’ll see them next week.
Let’s Hear from Claudio Castagnoli
Claudio Castagnoli made his entrance as the ROH World Champion with William Regal joining him. The announcers put it over as his first World Championship. That’s like saying Seth Rollins didn’t win his first World Title in WWE in 2015 because he was ROH World Champion before that. I don’t agree with that at all. I wouldn’t compare to the ROH World Title to WWE or AEW World Titles. It’s a much smaller company.
The fans chanted “you deserve it” to Claudio, who appreciated the support. Claudio said thanks in multiple languages. Claudio said there have been many times where he doubted himself, but the fans are always there for him and it feels amazing, then said it’s an honor to stand in front of you as the ROH World Champion. Claudio said it was just the beginning. Claudio called out fellow Blackpool Combat Club member and ROH Pure Champion, Wheeler Yuta.
Wheeler Yuta walked out with his ROH Pure Champion while Jericho complained about the fans chanting “you deserve it.” Yuta didn’t say a word when Jericho interrupted.
Chris Jericho did a promo complaining about the fans chanting “Yuta” and “you deserve it” so the fans did it more. Jericho said Claudio deserves Jericho’s boot up his ass. Jericho said that a sports entertainer beats a pro wrestler. Yuta told Jericho to shut up. Yuta reminded Jericho that he beat Daniel Garcia to retain the ROH Pure Championship. Yuta said he was pretty sure he can beat Jericho too, so that led to “Yuta” chants. Jericho recapped what Yuta said while Claudio and Regal both agreed with Yuta that he can beat Jericho. That led to Jericho yelling at Yuta to shut his mouth. Jericho said it can be Yuta against Jericho this Wednesday on Dynamite. Yuta said no because he knows he can beat Jericho. That led to Jericho saying that he is so sure that he can beat Yuta beyond a shadow of a doubt. Jericho told Yuta that if Yuta can beat him then Yuta gets the Interim AEW World Title shot against Jon Moxley, so Yuta said that was easier than he thought and he’s on. That ended it with some long distance trash talk as Yuta’s music played.
Analysis: That was a good promo exchange. Jericho showed a lot of confidence as the cocky heel veteran while Yuta got to show off his personality a bit by being sarcastic in some of that promo leading to him accepting the match. Since Jericho is facing Jon Moxley for the Interim AEW World Title in two weeks, I assume Jericho will beat Yuta in their match. It’s a way to build Jericho up for the title match.
They showed The Acclaimed duo of Max Caster and Anthony Bowens in a music video. I’m not going to recap the lyrics or anything like that, but they ripped on The Ass Boys (Gunn Boys) while talking about how they were going to take out the trash. You can watch the video below.
It was main event interview time featuring Ruby Soho and Anna Jay while they had some friends behind them. Anna bragged as a cocky heel while Ruby said that Jay is an entitled little shits who thinks she knows everything. Ruby suggested that Jay leaves the Circle Jerk Society in the back and face her one on one. Jay said that this is a different Anna Jay and she’s going to choke out Ruby. Mark Henry did his line about how it’s time for the main event. I assume he’s really overpaid by AEW considering what he does in the company.
This Wednesday on AEW Dynamite:
* Dumpster Match – Gunn Club (Ass Boys) vs. The Acclaimed.
* Powerhouse Hobbs will be in action. Usually when they put it like that it means a squash match.
* Orange Cassidy vs. Jay Lethal.
* The Undisputed Elite is back.
* Thunderstorm (Thunder Rosa & Toni Storm) vs. Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter.
* Matt Hardy vs. Christian Cage.
* Chris Jericho vs. Wheeler Yuta.
Next Friday, Rampage is a live show instead of the usual taped show.
They also announced that on Battle of the Belts III on Saturday, August 6th it’s Claudio Castagnoli defending the ROH World Title against Konosuke Takeshita. That should be a great match, but not a title change.
Anna Jay made her entrance for the main event. She’s a heel now that’s part of the Jericho Appreciation Society. Ruby Soho was next with a 35-5 record in AEW. Ruby had a brace on her right forearm.
Ruby Soho vs. Anna Jay
Jay with a takedown followed by a kick attempt to the arm, but Ruby moved her arm out of the way. Ruby with a shoulder tackle knocking Jay down. Ruby got a crucifix pin for two. Ruby with a knee to the face, Jay avoided a charge and Ruby did a handstand against the turnbuckle, so Jay kicked her in the right hand. Jay with a rolling kick to the head. They went to a picture in picture break.
Jay was in control during most of the break and when they came back, she took off Ruby’s brace on the right arm. Ruby with lefty forearms, then she couldn’t lift up Jay and Jay hit a kick to the body. Ruby hit a belly to back suplex. Jay squeezed on the right hand of Ruby, who sold it well and Ruby did repeated headbutts (obviously hitting her own hand instead of Jay’s head – it’s tough to hide it) along with some kicks to the body. Jay with a knee to the ribs, a kick to the side of the head and a back heel trip for a two count. Jay countered a Soho move and hit a Gory Bomb for a two count. I’m surprised that Excalibur didn’t call it by name. He just yelled out “ohhh” for it. Jay with a standing side kick to the face for two. Jericho shouted for Jay to grab the hand. Jay applied her Queen Slayer choke, Soho flipped her way out of it and Ruby hit the No Future kick to the head for two. I think that’s her finisher, but Jay was able to get out of it. Ruby went up top, she went for a senton splash, Jay avoided it and Jay delivered some crossface forearms to the head. Jay tossed some gear that was on her wrist, so the referee got it out of the ring and Jay choked Ruby with the black arm brace with the referee not seeing it. Ruby passed out from it, so Jay got the submission win. It went about 10 minutes.
Winner by submission: Anna Jay
Analysis: ***1/4 This was a pretty good match. I thought Ruby was awesome in the match with the way she sold the right hand injury throughout the match while Jay did a nice job of attacking it constantly and that was the main story. Jay showed her new heel ways by making the referee get her gear out of the ring so that Jay could use the black arm brace to choke out Soho. Nice story and execution by both women.
Post match, Anna Jay celebrated while the announcers put her over for the win and said she was going to be a big star. Jericho was shown applauding Jay since she’s part of the Jericho Appreciation Society group. That was the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Ruby Soho
- Anna Jay
- Lee Moriarty
This Week: 5.5 out of 10
Last Week: 5.5
I thought was one of the most boring, uneventful episodes of Rampage ever and I’ve reviewed nearly every episode. Even the most passionate, biased AEW fans can’t really get excited about these shows, can they? I’ll give credit because like most weeks there were a couple of matches around the three-star level, but there have been many Rampage shows better than that.
The promo segment with Claudio/Yuta/Jericho was one of the best parts of this episode. I also liked the Anna Jay/Ruby Soho match because they booked it well with Ruby wrestling hurt while the new heel Anna took advantage of the injury to win the match. It was booked well.
There were reports this week that half the crowd left during the Rampage taping. It’s up to AEW to try to make that show more exciting and keep people from leaving. They know Dynamite is the “A” show, but you have to do a better job of making Rampage feel important.
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