The John Report: AEW Rampage 08/19/22 Review
This week’s AEW Rampage featured Swerve In Our Glory defending the AEW Tag Team Titles against Private Party while the Trios Title tournament continued in the main event.
This is AEW Rampage from the Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, West Virginia. This was taped after Dynamite on Wednesday. Check out the AEW PPV listing archive only on TJRWrestling as well. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
It’s Friday night and you know what that means. Jim Ross was on commentary with Excalibur and Tony Schiavone. JR said that they were “live” even though it’s on tape. Chris Jericho was also there telling JR he’s a wizard: “I’m a wizard, dammit!”
Let’s Hear from Claudio Castagnoli
The ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli entered the ring with his friend ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta. Claudio said it was great to be there as the ROH World Champion and great to be there with one of his all time heroes Ricky Steamboat there at ringside. Ricky also greeted Claudio on his way to the ring. Claudio issued an open challenge saying next week, if anybody wants to step up, now is your chance.
Dustin Rhodes answered the challenge with half his face painted. Dustin said that he’s had a lot of hard-fought battles with Claudio. Dustin spoke about how for 34 years he has dreamt of standing where Claudio is holding the World Heavyweight Title. Dustin said that they had a lot of common until Claudio got there since they were not World Champions, but now Claudio got it. Dustin told Claudio if he accepts the challenge, he will give Claudio the best of “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes he’s ever seen. Claudio said he knows wanting to be a champion keeps Dustin going and that’s why Dustin has had his best run here in AEW (what?). Claudio said he still sees that same fire for over 30 years and Claudio said he hasn’t lost that fire. Claudio said if you want a shot at this title and you promise you’ll bring your “A game” then you’re on. Dustin said that he gives him his word, so he’ll see him next week in Cleveland. They shook hands. Thumbs up from Ricky Steamboat at ringside.
Analysis: A solid promo exchange to set up a match. My issue with the whole thing is calling the ROH World Title a World Title on the same level as a major WWE World Title or even AEW’s World Title just doesn’t feel right. ROH isn’t close to being as big as those companies at this point. I understand if you’re AEW that you want to try to make it feel like a World Title, but it’s a little much when you try to compare it to a major title in a bigger company. With that said, AEW has about 47 titles on the show at this point (I am joking with the number) and even more coming, so are they really that valuable? Anyway, I do like Claudio and Dustin can still go in his 50s, so let’s see what they can do.
Ortiz and Ruby Soho were interviewed by Lexy Nair. Ruby said she’s been chomping at the bit to get their hands on Sammy Guevara and Tay Melo. Ortiz screamed about how they want to fight next week, then he said “let’s fight” a bunch of times.
AEW Tag Team Championships: Swerve In Our Glory (Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland) vs. Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen)
Private Party is 31-21. They have only had 52 tag team matches in three years of being in AEW? That’s not a lot. The champions are 10-2 as a tag team.
Lee tossed Kassidy across the ring leading to Kassidy landing on his feet. Lee chopped Kassidy and Swerve tagged in with a running uppercut. Swerve jumped off the turnbuckle, Kassidy with a back elbow to the jaw and Quen tried a jumping attack, but Swerve moved. Kassidy with a headscissors sending Swerve out of the ring. Kassidy dove over the top onto Swerve on the floor. They went to a 90-second picture-in-picture break.
Private Party was in control of Swerve as Kassidy kicked Swerve while he was on the top rope. Swerve with a double foot stomp on Quen and avoided Kassidy leading to Lee tagging in. Lee ran over Kassidy a few times along with an overhead toss across the ring. Lee with a running splash on Quen in the corner. Lee tossed Quen across the ring and Lee tossed Kassidy across the ring as well. Lee ran the ropes leading to a hard lariat for two. Kassidy got an enziguri kick on Lee. Quen tagged in, tried to jump onto Lee, but Lee avoided it and Lee hit a Pounce on Quen for a two count. That was impressive by Keith. Swerve with a running side kick to the head for two. Swerve hit a sitout slam called the JML Driver (thanks Excalibur for the name) for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Swerve In Our Glory (Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland)
Analysis: **1/4 It was a dominant win for the champions with Swerve selling for a few minutes before Lee got the hot tag and finished off Private Party soon after that. I don’t mind booking like this because far too often in AEW they will book champions to go long in matches and I say it should be shorter to make the champions look strong. That’s why they did here. It sucks that Private Party isn’t involved in storylines much anymore because I think they are talented young guys. They just aren’t in the mix right now.
Post match, Lee touched knuckles with Kassidy and shook hands with Quen. It was a way to show respect, so maybe Private Party will become faces after this.
QT Marshall and The Factory was shown at a table backstage playing cards. Lexy Nair asked them about Powerhouse Hobbs, so then Hobbs walked into the room and tossed the table over. Marshall said that The Facotry will take care of Ricky Starks and Marshall said his word is his bond.
Analysis: What a riveting storyline. That’s sarcasm. I assume they do Starks vs. Hobbs at All Out and if they don’t then that’s a mistake. Those two guys deserve the spotlight.
Some guy named “The Reality” Zack Clayton did a promo saying he’s an entertainment superstar and the biggest star there tonight in this disgusting waste of a state, West Virginia. Zack said it’s a shame he has to win the FTW Title in this cesspool and bring it home with him to a state that people actually respect, New Jersey. Hook made his entrance looking like he doesn’t give a shit, which is my facial expression some weeks when I have to review this show. Hook bumped Clayton in the chest so he can pose and had no effect.
FTW Championship: Hook vs. Zack Clayton
Clayton tried a punch, Hook avoided it and Hook applied the Redrum submission. Clayton passed out, so Hook won after 15 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Hook
Analysis: DUD Match of the year. At least Clayton got promo time. Good for him, I guess.
There was a promo from Matt Menard and Angelo Parker talking trash about Hook with Menard doing his ridiculous screaming along with facial expressions. Parker wondered “what if” the FTW Title was held by a sports entertainer referring to themselves.
Analysis: I guess that’s the start of a new feud we’re supposed to care about. Good luck with that.
The old man “Daddy Ass” Billy Gun was interviewed by Lexi Nair. Gunn said it seems like the Ass Boys finally put on their big boy pants and put them on at wrong time with the wrong person. Billy said that his sons putting their hands on them, has opened the door for Billy to spank their ass. The Acclaimed walked in to “scissor” Daddy Ass with Anthony Bowens saying that everybody loves The Acclaimed as usual.
They showed the ending of Dynamite when Andrade El Idolo and Rush ripped the mask off Dragon Lee, who is Rush’s brother. That was very rushed on Dynamite.
This was called a “standby match” because Hook won his match so quickly.
Buddy Matthews (w/Julia Hart) vs. Serpentico
Buddy is 7-1 in singles in AEW. Congrats on the Youtube wins. They barely put him on TV. Serpentico is 13-88 in AEW. Does he get a new contract when he reaches 100 losses? You don’t have to answer that.
Buddy with a dropkick sending Serpentico into the turnbuckle. Serpentico went to the floor leading to Buddy kicking Serpentico on the floor. Buddy sent Serpentico into the barricade. Serpentico with a kick for his only offense of the match. Serpentico jumped off the top with a hurricanrana attempt, but Buddy caught him and gave him a Powerbomb into the turnbuckle. Nice tribute to former WWE ally Seth Rollins there. Buddy hit a lifting knee to the face followed by a pumphandle spinning slam. This went just over one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Buddy Matthews
Analysis: 3/4* It was another squash match. Buddy is one of those guys who left WWE and came to AEW with fans thinking that maybe things would go better for him there. Are things really better? I’d say no. They don’t use him much at all.
Miro made his entrance with a mask that had horns on it so the announcers screamed about how it was Malakai Black’s mask. Buddy went after Miro, so Miro tossed him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Miro with a clothesline followed by punches and kicks with nobody attempting to stop this. Miro was calling for the “pagans” referring to the House of Black. Buddy with a slap to the face, so Miro superkicked Buddy out of the ring.
Analysis: A dominant ass kicking by Miro while Buddy looked like a loser here. The fans cheered Miro, who is now a face in this feud against House of Black.
The trio of Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D., Jamie Hayter and Rebel were standing by with Lexi Nair. Britt said they were leaving since they were not needed for the pay-per-view and Lexy said it’s because neither of them are number one contenders. Britt said if they aren’t in the pay-per-view title then she wants to see the shit storm unfold that is Thunder Storm. Baker said that Thunder Rosa can’t beat Toni Storm again while saying that Toni has buddied up with Thunder. Baker said they’ll be watching and waiting.
Athena vs. Penelope Ford
Athena is 4-0 in AEW and is ranked third in the women’s division. You can win just four matched to be ranked that high? Must be nice. Ford is back after being out for about half a year.
Ford ran over Athena with a shoulder tackle. Athena with an armdrag takedown into an armbar. Ford came back with a clothesline in the corner, then Athena hit a rising knee and Ford came back with a headscissors into the ropes. Ford with a dropkick. They showed a guy with a box on his head that said “Underrated Over It.” It’s Kip Sabian, who is Ford’s husband, so maybe he’ll be wrestling again soon. I don’t know why he has had the box on his head for months. Ford jumped onto Athena on the ring apron as the show went to picture in picture break.
They were on the floor with Athena hitting a running dropkick into the barricade right in front of Kip Sabian (or “Boxhead” as Jericho calls him) in the crowd. Athena went up top and hit the O-Face aka top rope Stunner for the pinfall win. This went just under six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Athena
Analysis: ** A clean win for Athena after selling for much of the match. Ford’s offense looked good and I’m happy she’s back in action, but I don’t know if they will pus her. Athena getting the win was the obvious result. It was the second match on this show that went six minutes with a picture-in-picture break in between, so you only got to see about three minutes on full screen. Why not time the breaks better and go to a break during entrances so then you can see the whole match or more of it? I write about this all the time in AEW show reviews. They don’t time their commercials well.
Post match, Athena was attacked by Kiera Hogan and Leyla Gray with punches. Jade Cargill appeared by the entrance with the TBS Title and Stokely Hathaway. Jade used the sledgehammer to smash some wings that Athena had as part of her entrance. Athena tried to fight back against the two women in the ring, but Cargill went into the ring with the sledgehammer to the ribs (Jade had her hand on the end of the hammer). Jade trash-talked Athena, who was down in the ring.
Analysis: It was a typical numbers game heel beatdown. That’s why heels are in stables more than faces so they can do stuff like that to get heat and build sympathy for the face. It’s obvious that they will go with Cargill vs. Athena at All Out.
A brief video aired promoting the CM Punk match against Jon Moxley next Wednesday on Dynamite to crown a new Undisputed AEW World Champion.
Next Wednesday on AEW Dynamite in Cleveland:
* AEW Undisputed World Championship: CM Punk (c) vs. Jon Moxley (c)
* We hear from Ricky Starks. A video aired about his history with Powerhouse Hobbs. I assume it leads to their match at All Out.
* Billy Gunn vs. Colten Gunn.
* Dax Harwood vs. Jay Lethal.
* Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. vs. KiLynn King.
* AEW World Trios Championship Tournament Dynamite Semifinal (aka Quarterfinals): Death Triangle vs. Will Ospreay & Aussie Open.
Next Friday on Rampage:
* AEW World Trios Championship Tournament Rampage Semifinal (aka Quarterfinals): House of Black vs. Dark Order.
AEW All Out on September 4:
* AEW World Trios Championship Tournament Finals
* Casino Ladder Match
* AEW Women’s Championship: Thunder Rosa (c) vs. Toni Storm
They didn’t even mention the Claudio-Dustin segment that was supposed to lead to a match next week. They also forget Chris Jericho wants to hear from Daniel Garcia, which Jericho mentioned throughout this show.
The main event was next.
Mark Henry conducted the split-screen interview for the main event. Ari Daivari and the Trustbusters were on one side while Best Friends were on the other side. They exchanged trash talk with Trent saying these belts were made for them. Cassidy interrupted Henry’s catchphrase, so then Henry finished his “it’s time for the main event” bit. Congrats Mark on getting a payday.
AEW Trios Tag Team Tournament Quarterfinals: Trustbusters (Ari Daivari, Parker Boudreaux & Slim J w/Sonny Kiss) vs. Best Friends (Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta)
When they showed a kid doing an Orange Cassidy-like “thumbs up” in the crowd, Jericho said the kid will be a failure. Thank you Jericho for your honesty! The announcers put over the story that Best Friends have been together in AEW since day one and Trustbusters are a new group.
Ari started with Taylor, Slim J tagged in and Taylor got a boot to the face on Ari. Slim punched Taylor and Trent tagged in, so Slim went after him in the corner. Taylor tossed Slim into the air for a Powerbomb by Trent. Taylor was in the ring way too long as he kicked Ari and then Trent hit a running kick on Ari, who wasn’t legal. Parker tagged in and he ran over all three guys on the other team while going over the top to land on his feet. Parker tossed Taylor into the barricade. Ari tossed Trent into a barricade, but the director missed it. Slim was fighting Cassidy on the floor. Parker hit a clothesline on Trent on the floor as they went to a picture-in-picture break.
The match continued with Trent fighting to break free as he hit Ari with a forearm. Slim tagged in, he got distracted by some Orange hijinks and Trent hit a half-n-half suplex on Slim across the ring. Orange tagged in with some of his comedy bits leading to a top rope cross body block on Slim along with a DDT on Ari. Parker went into the ring illegally because it’s AEW and they like doing that. Parker tossed Cassidy down. Parker ran the ropes leading to a double clothesline on Taylor and Trent, who were not legal just like him. Parker hit corner splashes on both guys. Parker missed a corner attack, Taylor and Trent with two clotheslines and Orange did a triple dropkick with his two teammates. After over a minute of illegal action, it was back to Slim hitting a bulldog on Orange. Slim went up top and did a twisting dive onto Chuck/Trent on the floor. Ari got the tag as Slim hit a twisting cross body block and Ari jumped off the top with a Frog Splash for a two count. Orange’s friends broke up the pin. Parker picked up Trent on the floor, Taylor saved his buddy and Trent gave Parker a Spear into the barricade. Orange gave Parker the Orange Punch while Trent/Taylor tossed Parker over the barricade. Ari distracted the referee, so Sonny shoved Orange off the top rope. Slim went up top and jumped off with a diving reverse DDT for two. Good move there. Slim wanted Parker, but he was over the barricade and Danhausen showed up to “curse” Slim J in the ring. Trent and Taylor did a double Chokeslam on Slim J while Orange hit the Orange Punch on Ari on the apron. Trent and Taylor held Slim J while Orange went on the Best Friends’ shoulders and hit a splash on Slim for the pinfall win after 11 minutes. It was an innovative move at the end there.
Winners by pinfall: Best Friends (Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta)
Analysis: *** A solid tag team match with the heels controlling most of the action before the Best Friends made the comeback for the win. I was impressed by Slim J in the match because I haven’t seen much of him in the ring before and he did a lot of cool moves while also selling well. I also liked the innovative move by the Best Friends for the win even though Trent and Taylor were in there illegally as if that matters in AEW. As is usually the case in an AEW tag team match, there was a lot of illegal action because the referees are useless.
Best Friends celebrated the win with their buddy Danhausen joining them in the ring. The announcers plugged Punk vs. Moxley on Dynamite on Wednesday. That was the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Best Friends (Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta)
- Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland
- Claudio Castagnoli and Dustin Rhodes
This Week: 5.5 out of 10
Last Week: 5
It was yet another average Rampage show that was lacking in star power. I’ll give them credit for having an entertaining trios tag team main event that was clearly the best match. Swerve In Our Glory was put over Strong against Private Party. The promos from Claudio Castagnoli and Dustin Rhodes were pretty good as they set up an ROH World Title match. Most of the rest of the show was forgettable.
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