This week’s AEW Rampage featured Claudio Castagnoli defending the ROH World Title against Dustin Rhodes while the Trios Championship Tournament continued.
This is AEW Rampage from the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio. 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, Tony Schiavone and the wizard known as Chris Jericho. They went right to the action with the introductions for the first match on Youtube.
AEW World Trios Championship Tournament Semifinals: House of Black (Malakai Black, Buddy Matthews & Brody King) vs. Dark Order (John Silver, Alex Silver & Ten)
King and Ten did a shoulder tackle spot where neither man moved. Is Ten one of the worst names in wrestling today? It sure is. I get that it’s his number in the group of nerds, but it’s not a good name. Just use Preston Vance instead. Best Friends and Orange Cassidy were watching from ringside. Ten with a kick, no sold by King and Ten landed wrong on the left knee, so he was grabbing his knee. Silver tagged in to a pop as Jericho claimed that Silver has turned things around for the group. What? They barely get TV time and used to be on way more. Anyway, Buddy tagged in against Silver and they exchanged some holds leading to Buddy getting a kick to the gut. Silver booted Black, Reynolds tagged in and got a backslide pin for two. Black with a spin kick attempt, Reynolds avoided it and Black sat in the ring to stare at him. They got into a shoving match leading to all six guys doing a staredown. The action spilled to the floor with King sending Ten into the barricade while Black fought Reynolds in the break. There was a picture-in-picture break for 90 seconds.
The House of Black heels were in control with Black hitting a back elbow on Reynolds and Buddy tagged in with on the elbow of Reynolds. Buddy kicked Ten in the knee to knock him off the apron. Buddy kicked Reynolds, but Reynolds came back with a forearm to the face. Ten was back in moving well with a kick, clothesline, spinning slam and a spinebuster. A referee distraction led to Buddy getting a kick and double knees on Ten. The DO guys went into the ring illegally for some double-team moves on Buddy. Reynolds and Silver were trying double-team moves on King, but King took care of both with a kick and forearm. Ten clotheslined King out of the ring, so back to the legal guys with Ten putting Black in a Full Nelson submission. Black pulled Ten’s left knee brace, then Ten sold a knee injury and Black applied a knee bar submission on the mat. King and Buddy held Silver & Reynolds on the mat. Miro’s entrance music hit, the referee was looking right at it and he gave Buddy a back body drop on the entrance while also fighting King. They aren’t the legal guys, but a guy not in the match hitting guys that are in a match should be a DQ. Anyway, Reynolds got the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! of Black for the pinfall win. It went nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: House of Black (Malakai Black, Buddy Matthews & Brody King)
Analysis: **3/4 The match was solid with some fun spots throughout. Then the finish happened. It was dumb. I hate the “music plays of non-wrestler” distraction spot. I was going to go over three stars for it, but then Miro beat up guys that were in the match while the referee Aubrey Edwards was looking right at it. So where’s the DQ? There was nothing, of course. That’s AEW. Anyway, Dark Order gets the fluke win because House of Black was busy dealing with Miro. Considering how well-liked he is by the fans, John Silver is one of the worst-booked guys in AEW. That guy needs more TV time.
After the match, Miro stared at Black and then King attacked Miro from behind with a forearm. King sent Miro into the steel steps. Miro staggered back to his feet leading to Black hitting a spin kick (once known as the Black Mass) to Miro’s head. Darby Allin & Sting made their entrance and slowly walked down to the ring for the save, so House of Black left.
Analysis: That should lead to yet another six-man tag team match for this company that loves those kinds of matches. Miro vs. Black also makes sense to do at some point.
Hook was interviewed by Lexi Nair, who mentioned Matt Menard and Angelo Parker talked about Hook. That led to Hook saying he didn’t care. Menard and Parker walked into the screen with Menard doing his over-the-top yelling routine. Parker said that they’re going to take the FTW Title from him and that was it.
Analysis: A boring storyline that hasn’t even started yet.
Ryan Nemeth did a promo saying that the best part of growing up in Cleveland was leaving Cleveland. The fans booed while Ryan claimed he was the Hollywood Hunk and wanted a “let’s go Hunk” chant that did not work. Ryan ripped on the fans cheering the worst history of the NFL, the Cleveland Browns and said that makes him want to puke.
Analysis: I think the Detroit Lions are worse than Cleveland in the history of the NFL, but Cleveland is definitely bottom five. Sorry Browns fans, but it’s true.
Wardlow got a big pop as the TNT Champion because he’s also from Cleveland, so the fans cheered him loudly. They should have put him on Dynamite in his hometown instead of this show. Ryan said that he should be the champion and is a star while calling Wardlow a loser.
TNT Championship: Wardlow vs. Ryan Nemeth
There was Jay Lethal, Chris Sabin, Sonjay Dutt & Satnam Singh watching on the stage. Wardlow with a headbutt along with a wind-up clothesline. Wardlow hit a Powerbomb with no cover. Wardlow hit three more Powerbombs with a foot on the chest pin for the win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Wardlow
Analysis: 1/2* A squash match win for Wardlow as expected here.
The Andrade Family Office was backstage with Andrade El Idolo standing by with Rush and Jose along with Private Party. Lexi Nair mentioned that both teams lost last week. Andrade and Rush talked about how they attacked Dragon Lee with Rush saying he turned on his own brother. Andrade told Private that everything in this world has consequences as a warning.
Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Ashton Day
Jericho sarcastically said that he was pulling for Day while adding that Day has a shot to win as Hobbs hit Day with a clothesline. Hobbs sent Day into the ropes leading to a clothesline while Hobbs mocked the pose that Ricky Starks does. Hobbs with a hard spinebuster with a knee on the chest pin for the win after one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Powerhouse Hobbs
Analysis: 1/2* A squash match for Hobbs just like the match before it. Yawn.
There was a backstage scene with The Factory group holding Ricky Starks in the backstage area. There were five guys there as Marshall said he told Hobbs that he would take care of Starks. QT Marshall wrapped his watch around his hand and punched Starks in the face.
Analysis: I’m looking forward to Starks vs. Hobbs at All Out. It could go either way. I’m leaning towards picking Starks to win.
The TBS Champion Jade Cargill was with Kiera Hogan and Leyla Gray. Lexi Nair tried to ask a question, Jade said that she’ll see Athena at AEW All Out for the TBS Title. Athena showed up to attack Cargill and it was quickly broken up.
Analysis: That’s the second women’s match at All Out, which is fine since there are two titles. I think Cargill will beat Athena.
Sammy Guevara & Tay Melo (w/Angelo Parker) vs. Ortiz & Ruby Soho
Sammy and Tay are married, so they kissed as part of the entrance leading to boos. Tay with some knees to the face of Soho, then a trip leading to a wrist lock and a stomp by Tay on Soho. When Soho tried a running kick, Tay moved and Tay delivered a kick. Ruby with a forearm to the face, Sammy tagged in and Ortiz had to go in while Sammy kicked him in the ribs. Ortiz with two lefty clotheslines, a slam and then he slammed Soho onto Sammy leading to a two count for Ortiz. Sammy tagged in with a jumping knee after a Tay distraction, so Ortiz was down. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
The match returned with Ortiz hitting a clothesline leading to Sammy doing a flip bump. Ruby tagged in meaning Tay had to tag in leading to Ruby hitting a suplex followed by a boot to the face. Ruby went after Tay on the turnbuckle, Sammy knocked Ortiz off the apron and Ruby gave Sammy a Poison Rana. That led to Tay hitting a cross body block off the top on Ruby for two. Sammy got in Ruby’s face, so Ortiz went into the ring with a DDT. Tay kicked Ortiz, JR said the referee Bryce Remsburg lost control (that’s because in AEW the wrestlers don’t do spots using the referee so it makes the referees look like fools) and Ortiz blocked a Tay kick, so Ruby kneed Tay. Ruby hit the No Future kick to Tay’s head for a two count with Sammy breaking up the pin. Ortiz tagged in with punches on Sammy, then Anna Jay showed up at ringside and threw Ruby into the steel steps. Ortiz was looking outside the ring and Sammy hit a Cutter off the top for the pinfall. Ortiz was bleeding from the head somehow. It went about ten minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sammy Guevara & Tay Melo
Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match. Another weird finish on this show. The spot with Ruby hitting the Poison Rana on Sammy was really good. The finish was an overbooked mess due to the interference from Anna leading to Ortiz having to stand around waiting for Sammy to jump off the ropes to hit a Cutter. I guess Ruby is feuding with Tay and Anna now. I don’t know if people care that much.
Post match, Jericho awarded the Sports Entertainers of the Week to his Jericho Appreciation Society allies Sammy, Tay, Anna and Angelo.
They showed highlights of Jon Moxley’s quick win over CM Punk on Dynamite to become the AEW Undisputed World Champion. Punk did a kick with the right foot, then he sold the left foot injury and Moxley beat him with the Death Rider move twice for the win after three minutes. They showed post-match footage of Punk saying he couldn’t put any weight on it. Punk told the trainer when he originally broke the foot he didn’t feel anything, but he feels it now. That’s it for the “exclusive comments” from Punk.
Analysis: The rumor is that AEW is still going to do Moxley vs. Punk at All Out on September 4. If so, they need to announce it on Dynamite this Wednesday, August 31 and maybe it’s going to be something where Punk goes heel by acting like he’s still hurt, but he’s only faking it. That could lead to Punk beating Moxley at All Out. I don’t know what the plan is, but it is weird to not have a World Title match announced just one week away from a major PPV event.
It was main event interview time with Dustin Rhodes saying this was his opportunity and his shot at the ROH World Title. Dustin said he’ll give Claudio the best of himself. Claudio Castagnoli said he wanted to face a legend like Dustin Rhodes because they are about competition in the Blackpool Combat Club. Claudio said he’s going to shatter his dreams (Goldust reference) because he’s still going to be the ROH World Champion. Mark Henry ended it with his “looks like there’s been enough time, it’s time for the main event” line.
The ring announcer was Bobby Cruise from Ring of Honor instead of AEW’s Justin Roberts. “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes was accompanied by Arn & Brock Anderson. Caprice Coleman from ROH was on commentary for this match. The ROH World Champion Claudio Castagnoli was up next with ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta and William Regal. When Regal walked towards commentary, Jericho freaked out and said he doesn’t need this since Regal cheap-shotted him in the past. Anyway, the announcers for this match were Excalibur, Ross, Coleman and Regal. Find yourself somebody to love as much as AEW loves announcers.
ROH World Championship: Claudio Castagnoli vs. Wheeler Yuta
It’s a babyface match where they also shook hands to observe the Code of Honor that exists in ROH. It was mentioned by Coleman that they have had 41 matches together, but not singles matches. Those would be WWE matches. Dustin got an arm drag takedown into a pin attempt. Claudio got a side headlock takedown, Dustin got out of it and Claudio ran the ropes leading to a shoulder tackle with Dustin bumping hard into the bottom rope. Claudio got a pin attempt near the ropes, but Dustin powered out of it. Claudio with an uppercut followed by Claudio sending Dustin shoulder-first into the turnbuckle. Dustin with an atomic drop followed by a boot to the jaw for just a one count. Dustin ran the ropes going for a cross body block, Claudio ducked it and Dustin rolled out of the ring to the floor. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
The match returned with about six minutes left in the show. Claudio had Dustin grounded in a crossface submission and Dustin powered out of it with a sidewalk slam while fast-talking Excalibur plugged matches coming up next week. Claudio and Dustin exchanged punches, then Dustin hit two clotheslines. Dustin avoided a charging Claudio leading to Dustin hitting a clothesline over the top to the floor. Dustin with a cannonball dive onto Claudio on the floor. Back in the ring, Dustin with another clothesline for a two count. Dustin with a boot to the face, then Dustin to the middle rope and hit a hurricanrana! Dustin with a boot leading to the Code Red (sunset flip Powerbomb) for a two count as the fans chanted “you still got it” at Dustin. He never lost it, folks. Claudio with a stun gun into the ropes followed by a clothesline for two. Claudio gave Dustin the GIANT SWING~! spinning Dustin around about ten times leading to a two count. Claudio applied the Crossface submission on the right arm even though he worked on the left arm earlier. Dustin countered it into a two count. Claudio walked into Dustin’s powerslam. Dustin set up for a piledriver, but it was more like a slam to the mat for two. Arn did a throat slash, Claudio got out of whatever Dustin was trying and when Dustin tried running the ropes, Claudio jumped so that Dustin’s head hit Claudio in the groin. Ouch. They did that well. A planned spot most likely, but Claudio sold it very well. Arn was on the apron instructing Dustin and then Claudio managed to lift up Dustin leading to an uppercut for the pinfall win after 13 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Claudio Castagnoli
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match well wrestled by two talented veterans that know what they are doing out there. More time would have been nice, but I liked the story they told. Dustin came close to winning a few times, so that’s good to see. The low blow spot running the ropes was pretty clever because you don’t see that kind of thing often, but they made it look like it was painful. The finish was a bit anticlimactic because Claudio lifted up Dustin once and hit an uppercut to win. That’s it? Dustin did all these cool moves to try to win, but then Claudio needs only one uppercut. I would have liked to see Claudio do a bit more to beat Dustin in that spot.
Claudio was handed the ROH World Title while still selling the low blow. Arn looked disappointed in Dustin. Claudio celebrated with his title and his buddy Wheeler Yuta by his side. Excalibur did some extreme fast-talking to plug matches for next week. End show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Claudio Castagnoli
- Dustin Rhodes
- The Dark Order
This Week: 6.25 out of 10
Last Week: 5.5
It was at least slightly above average this week, so that’s an improvement. The trios tournament match was okay, but not nearly given as much time as the match that was on Dynamite. Bad finish to that match too, but it did involve the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! ending. There were also two squash matches booked back-to-back, so that’s not that exciting.
The Claudio/Dustin match was a lot of fun with a predictable result. At least it was a more interesting show in terms of some storyline advancement although Rampage is still a skippable show for casual fans. I’m sure people with names like AEWFan4Ever2019 on Twitter loves it, though.
The next AEW pay-per-view is called All Out on Sunday, September 4 in Chicago. Here’s what we know so far.
Bryan Danielson vs. Chris Jericho
Interim AEW Women’s Championship: Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. vs. Jamie Hayter vs. Toni Storm vs. Hikaru Shida
AEW Tag Team Championships: Swerve In Our Glory (Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland) (c) vs. The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens)
Wardlow & FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) vs. Jay Lethal & Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin)
Jungle Boy vs. Christian Cage
Ricky Starks vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
Trios Tag Team Tournament Finals
TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (c) vs. Athena
Casino Ladder Match
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