Reviews

The John Report: AEW Rampage 08/05/22 Review

aew rampage aug 5

This week’s AEW Rampage featured Jon Moxley in action against Mance Warner while there was a Street Fight main event with Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee facing Tony Nese & Josh Woods.

This is AEW Rampage from the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. Check out the AEW PPV listing archive only on TJRWrestling as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

Rampage was live this week on Friday night instead of taping it after Dynamite on Wednesday. That’s because they also taped the Saturday night Battle of the Belts III show on Friday. I will review that too. Let’s get to it.

It’s Friday night and you know what that means. Jim Ross was on commentary with Excalibur and Tony Schiavone.

Jon Moxley made his entrance as the Interim AEW World Champion by entering from the back part of the arena so that he can be greeted by fans. William Regal was on commentary since Mox is part of the Blackpool Combat Club.

There was a promo from Mance Warner talking about how he was going to fight Moxley. Warner talked about how he’s watched Moxley. Mance Warner made his entrance. I don’t know much about Warner. He’s a country boy fighter type of character and he got no reaction for his entrance.

Jon Moxley vs. Mance Warner

This is an AEW World Title eliminator match so Excalibur had to say if Warner won this match then he’d get a title shot. Yes, he had to say that with a straight face as if anybody thought Warner could win.

They were fighting in the aisle, Warner sent Moxley into the barricade and back into the ring as the bell rang. They left the ring again with Moxley suplexing Warner onto a chair on the floor. I guess that could be DQ, but it’s AEW. Warner set up Moxley on the barricade with a clothesline. They were back in the ring with Warner delivering chops, Moxley decided to stop selling those and hit his own chops. Moxley hit a dropkick while Warner’s left leg was against the ropes. Moxley with a dragon screw leg whip followed by a Figure Four Leglock. They got back up with Moxley punching Warner a bunch, but Warner came back with a hard whip into the corner. Warner whipped Moxley into the steel steps. Warner with a headbutt followed by his own suplex onto an opened chair on the floor. Back in the ring, Moxley got back up and hit a knee to the face. Moxley set up Warner on the steel steps, but Warner reversed him with a DDT on the steps. I guess whip a guy into the steps then you can DDT a guy on the steps without it being a DQ. That’s fine. They went to a picture-in-picture break.

(Commercial)

Moxley was bleeding from the right side of his forehead after the DDT spot on the steps. I don’t know if it was a legit cut or if he bladed. Warner was in control in the ring as he hit a chop block to the back of the left leg. Moxley came back with strikes, but Warner hit him with a spinebuster for two. Warner brought in a chair, the referee Paul Turner tried to stop it and then Moxley hit Warner with a forearm into the chair in Warner’s face. I guess that’s not a DQ? Okay then. The idea was that the referee didn’t see it or hear it, apparently. Moxley was selling that it hurt his right hand while Warner left the ring and did a blade job. Moxley hit a suicide dive with an elbow. Moxley hit a superplex off the middle rope. Moxley used his left arm with the hammer elbows because the right arm hurt and Moxley hit a rising knee. Warner hit a weak clothesline that Moxley had to sell so that they both laid down on the mat. Moxley with repeated kicks to the head followed by a piledriver and more stomps to the face. Moxley applied the Bully Choke submission, Warner passed out and that was it. Moxley won after about 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jon Moxley

Analysis: **3/4 This was just an average match. It’s the same Jon Moxley match we see all the time in AEW, including the blood coming from his head. I think Moxley should have beat this guy a lot easier than he did because it makes Moxley look weak by taking 12 minutes to beat a guy who isn’t under contract to AEW. They certainly could have had Warner get a couple of nearfalls to at least look like he had a shot. I’ll give Warner credit for wrestling a physical style, but this would probably be better if this wasn’t a regular match and they got to use weapons.

Moxley celebrated the win while selling the right arm injury. The announcers tried to put over the idea that Moxley could be hurt going into his AEW World Title defense against Chris Jericho next Wednesday on Dynamite.

Analysis: I think Moxley will beat Jericho. It should be a competitive match at least.

They showed Ricky Starks walking backstage for an interview where he was confronted by QT Marshall and his group known as The Factory. Marshall offered help to Starks, then Aaron Solo told Starks to take the help and Starks told them he doesn’t need the help. Starks bumped into QT and told him to get out of his way while Starks left. Marshall kept his guys back.

Konosuke Takeshita vs. Ryan Nemeth

Takeshita got a good probably because this was live after his Battle of the Belts match with Claudio Castagnoli, which was probably great. Nemeth is Dolph Ziggler’s younger brother. Takeshita ran the ropes leading to a clothesline followed by a running boot to the face. Takeshita worked over Nemeth with punches to the face. Peter Avalon grabbed Takeshita’s boot, so Nemeth hit some knee strikes to the ribs. Takeshita hit a Blue Thunder Bomb followed by a running knee to the face for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Konosuke Takeshita

Analysis: 1/2* A squash match to put over Takeshita one night before the Battle of the Belts match against Claudio airs. Nemeth barely got any offense here.

Post match, Peter Avalon attacked Takeshita with weak punches and Takeshita recovered easily with a running knee to the face. JR put over Takeshita saying he’s special while saying he could be a big time player. They are really trying to put him over.

Orange Cassidy was with his Best Friends talking to Lexy Nair after what happened on Dynamite. Chuck Taylor said that as a group they aren’t doing great due to their lack of presence in the rankings. Trent Beretta said that they need to stick together and thinks they are at their best as a trio. Trent asked if they wanted to go after the Trios Titles, so then Chuck, Trent and Cassidy all put their hands in…along with Danhausen. It was Danhausen wearing a face mask, so Lexy said it was Dr. Danhausen. That was it.

Madison Rayne entered to make her AEW debut. She was in Impact Wrestling for a long time with JR noting she was a 17-year veteran while Tony noted she was a head coach of the women’s division. Leila Gray got no reaction with her 1-5 record joined by Stokely Hathaway. JR and Tony tried to push the story about Gray being a “baddie” and they laughed about how silly it was.

Madison Rayne vs. Leila Gray (w/Stokely Hathaway)

Rayne got a couple of pin attempts for nearfalls early in the match. Rayne did an armdrag into an armbar. Rayne missed a corner attack, Rayne with a shoulder tackle into the ribs and Hathaway was jumping on the steps for a distraction, so Gray knocked her off the apron to the floor. They went to a picture in picture break.

(Commercial)

Gray was in control with a chinlock, Rayne broke free with a jawbreaker and an enziguri kick to the head. Rayne delivered some strikes, then she drove Gray’s head to the knee and Rayne hit a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Gray hit a sitout side slam like a flatliner while the announcers ripped her for not pinning quickly. Rayne countered a move leading to a sliding lariat and a Cross Raynes (Tony said that’s the name) for the pinfall win after nine minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Madison Rayne

Analysis: * Bad match. I was bored watching this and so was the crowd. They didn’t seem to have any chemistry. It’s tough to care about these matches with no story going into it, so the fans were dead for most of it. Anyway, obviously they were going to put over Rayne in her first AEW match while Gray is apparently just there to lose matches at this point.

Post match, TBS Champion Jade Cargill said that good help is so hard to find these days. Cargill said that “I’m that bitch” and this is her show. Cargill said she has an open challenge this Wednesday on Dynamite, so she would love Rayne to show up and get that ass beat. Cargill said while she’s at it, she should take a couple of days off. Kiera Hogan tried an attack from behind, but Rayne fought back and hit another Cross Raynes. Cargill backed away.

Analysis: To summarize this, Cargill has an open challenge and then she directly told Rayne that they are going to have a match. Rayne is fine with it. Hopefully it’s not as bad as the match we just saw.

A video aired featuring the Lucha Brothers and Andrade El Idolo/Rush talking about their Tornado Tag Team Match on Dynamite. They showed some comments from both teams.

(Commercial)

It was main event interview time with Swerve/Lee on one side while Nese/Woods were with manager Smart Mark Sterling. It featured the usual trash talk by both sides including Lee saying that it was not smart to want this match. Mark Henry ended it with his catchphrase “it’s time for the main event” to end it.

This Saturday on Battle of the Belts III (taped on Friday):

* ROH World Championship: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Konosuke Takeshita.

* AEW Women’s Championship: Thunder Rosa vs. Jamie Hayter.

* TNT Championship: Wardlow vs. Jay Lethal.

I’ll have a review of that on Sunday. I didn’t read the spoilers, but it’s obvious that the three champions will retain their titles. When they showed the graphics, this was after they taped the matches before Rampage.

Next Wednesday on AEW Dynamite “Quake By The Lake” show:

* Coffin Match: Brody King vs. Darby Allin.

* Tornado Tag Team Match: Lucha Brothers vs. Andrade El Idolo & Rush.

* TBS Championship: Jade Cargill vs. Madison Rayne.

* AEW Interim World Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Chris Jericho.

The team of Tony Nese entered with Josh Woods joined by Smart Mark Sterling. There was no reaction for this main event tag team. Excalibur put over Woods as a former ROH Pure Champion. The AEW Tag Team Championship team of Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland got a good reaction from the crowd as the babyface champions.

Friday Night Street Fight: Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee vs. Tony Nese & Josh Woods (w/Smart Mark Sterling)

In this match there are no countouts, no disqualifications and anything goes. It was announced as a “Friday Night Street Fight” by Justin Roberts. It’s a non-title match.

Woods tackled Swerve into the barricade, so Lee got in Josh’s face. Woods with some forearms, Lee no sold them and hit a forearm to the chest. Swerve hit a drop toe hold that sent Nese into an open chair on the floor. Swerve hit Woods with a boot to the face. Nese had some protein powder that he threw into Lee’s face and Swerve kicked the powder into Nese’s face. Swerve threw Nese into the steel steps. Swerve threw a toolbox towards Nese, who moved and the toolbox hit the steel steps. Nese jumped off the ring apron to hit Lee in the head with it. Woods with a forearm followed by a spinning suplex into the side of the steel steps. They went to a picture-in-picture break.

(Commercial)

The team of Nese and Woods were in control of Swerve on the apron while Lee was down on the floor. There were two tables set up on the floor. Swerve fought off the double team move, which led to Lee getting a hold of Woods. Swerve kicked Woods in the head while Lee knocked Woods off the apron. Nese with a spin kick on Swerve, but Lee broke up the pin. Lee was on fire with a shoulder tackle, clothesline, corner splash and he tossed Nese onto Woods. Lee ran the ropes, Sterling hit him with a light chair shot to the back, so Lee no sold it and grabbed the chair. Nese and Woods each kicked the chair into Lee followed by a double DDT on the chair. The heels covered Lee leading to Swerve going up top and hitting a 450 Splash to break up the pin. That was impressive. A table was set up in the ring by Nese while Swerve hit Nese with a knee to the face. Sterling went into the ring to hit Swerve with a wrench to the head. It’s the dreaded WRENCH OF DEATH~! Woods set up Swerve on the table, but Lee sent Woods out of the ring. Nese jumped towards Lee, who moved and Lee headbutted Nese to knock him down. Sterling went up top wearing his suit, which drew laughs from the crowd. Lee shoved Sterling off the top while Swerve moved and it looks like Sterling gave an elbow drop through the table as he went through it. Woods tease a German Suplex off the apron onto two tables, but Lee held on. Lee with a superkick to Lee, so Woods and Lee fell backwards through two tables. The fans chanted “holy shit” with JR saying it was a “holy doodoo” moment because he didn’t want to say shit. Nese set up some chairs and a trash can lid in the ring. Nese charged leading to the obvious back body drop onto the steel chairs. Swerve followed up with the double foot stomp known as the Swerve Stomp off the top rope for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee

Analysis: **1/2 It was an average street fight. The team of Nese/Woods had no spots in the match where it looked like they might win. It wasn’t that exciting either other than a few cool moves from Swerve and when Lee showed off his power. The fans reacted to the comedy spots of Sterling more than what the wrestlers did in the match. They did break a few tables towards the end, which is what popped the crowd, but a lot of the matches wasn’t very interesting and the fans were quiet for most of it.

Swerve and Lee celebrated the win while the announcers plugged Battle of the Belts to end the show.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Jon Moxley
  2. Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee
  3. Mance Warner

 

The Scoreboard

This Week: 4.5 out of 10

Last Week: 5.5

 

Final Thoughts

This was a boring, uneventful show. You might think a live Rampage would have a more energetic crowd, but I think the fans in Grand Rapids were probably sad that it wasn’t a Dynamite. The AEW roster has dozens of wrestlers sitting in the back doing nothing except wrestling three-minute matches on the Youtube shows, yet they bring in wrestlers that the fans don’t know and put them in matches where we all know they are going to lose. It’s lazy booking to me. They barely advanced storylines. This show should be and could be a lot better.

Anyway, it was the typical Jon Moxley match with Mance Warner featuring blood and Moxley getting the win. Swerve & Lee won an average Street Fight match. I thought the women’s match between Madison Rayne and Leila Gray was poor. I just didn’t care much about this show.

I’ll be back with a review of Battle of the Belts on Sunday. At least the matches will be better on that show.

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Thanks for reading. You can contact me using any of the methods below.

John Canton

Email: mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter: @johnreport