Reviews

The John Report: AEW Rampage (Grand Slam) 09/23/22 Review

aew rampage sept 23

This week’s AEW Rampage was a special two-hour episode featuring Sting & Darby Allin in a No DQ tag team match against House of Black while Ricky Starks faced off with Powerhouse Hobbs in the main event.

It is the longest Rampage episode of the year because they taped two hours of it at Arthur Ashe Stadium following Dynamite. The lineup is pretty good for a Rampage show.

This is AEW Rampage from Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens (New York City), New York. 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 new ROH World Champion Chris Jericho.

The House of Black group made their entrance, but Sting and Darby Allin attacked them there. Julia Hart jumped on Sting’s back. Anyway, the bell rang to start the match.

No Disqualification Match: House of Black – Brody King & Buddy Matthews (w/Julia Hart) vs. Sting & Darby Allin

King was beating up Allin at ringside while setting up some tables. Buddy sent Sting into the steel steps. King chopped Allin so hard he went from sitting on the top rope to falling to the floor. King worked over Sting with a very gentle body slam on the man in his 60s. That’s nice of him. Sting was punching both guys, Buddy with a kick, Sting no sold moves and hit a Stinger Splash on Buddy. Sting ducked a clothesline, so King hit Buddy. King was working over Sting, but Allin hit an Avalanche Code Red too. Allin ran the ropes, but Buddy hit him to stop the dive. Sting punched Buddy off the apron, Buddy was on the table and King shoved Sting off the top rope onto a table that was on the floor. There was a second table on the floor and it looked like Sting hit his head on that. That’s a big bump for anybody, much less a guy as old as Sting. Julia Hart went into the ring and she handcuffed Sting’s hands behind his back. They went to a picture-in-picture break.

(Commercial)

King and Buddy carried Allin over to the entrance area with Buddy kicking Allin in the back and King doing a chop to the back. Allin shoved both guys into some steel structure that was part of the set. Allin went up a structure that was about ten feet high, Allin knocked Buddy down and Allin hit a Coffin Drop onto Buddy on the stage. King grabbed Allin in sleeper hold on the stage, then they went spilling on the stage and King/Allin fell back first through table that was on the cement. Buddy brought Sting’s bat into the ring while Sting got back to his feet with his hands cuffed behind him. Buddy sat Sting on a chair, then the lights went out and the fans let out a big “ooohhh” as The Great Muta made his entrance. Buddy could have beat Sting while it took the old Great Muta about a minute to get to the ring, Muta looked like he might attack Sting, but then he did a dragon screw leg whip to Buddy. Muta spit the green mist in Buddy’s eyes, so Buddy stumbled towards Hart and Julia took a brutal bump off the apron through a table where she barely touched the table while she hit the f’n cement! Geez. That’s awful. Sting somehow broke free from the handcuffs and hit a Scorpion Death Drop on Buddy for the win. It went about 13 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Darby Allin & Sting

Analysis: ***1/2 A wild brawl with lots of weapon spots and making it look like the faces couldn’t win, but they found a way to get the win because Sting never loses in AEW. The House of Black guys have come across as such losers in these matches for months and with Malakai Black gone, AEW should really just end the group. I think the Sting table bump was very reckless and could have done a lot of damage if his head hit more of the second table. The Julia Hart table bump looked even worse since she barely touched the table and fell backwards onto cement. I also believe that AEW does the “lights out, here’s a surprise” thing during matches/segments far too often. The ending was fun for nostalgia, but bad for logic because Buddy just waited there like an idiot for Muta.

Sting and Muta celebrated in the ring with the fans cheering the old guys.

(Commercial)

Hook & Action Bronson vs. Jericho Appreciation Society – Matt Menard & Angelo Parker

Bronson performed a song/rap on the way to the ring. The team of Menard and Parker have a 2022 record of 12-3. I review every TV show that AEW does and I don’t recall them winning on TV, but congrats on those Youtube wins. Taz joined the match to call his son’s match. Hook took down Parker with a gutwrench suplex. Bronson tagged in against Menard with a running shoulder tackle, then a shoulder tackle on Parker and a corner splash. Menard and Parker got a bit of offense with Parker with a knee followed by a dropkick. More tag team offense from Menard/Parker leading to a trip followed by an elbow drop by Parker. Hook did a double clothesline with Menard. Hook with an Exploder Suplex on Parker, Bronson tagged in with a shoulder tackle, a clothesline and a running powerslam. Bronson did a bit of a sloppy rope run leading to a running tackle on Parker. Hook with a clothesline, then an overhead suplex and Hook applied the Red Rum submission. Bronson also applied the Redrum submission at the same time, both JAS guys tapped out and that was it. It went about five minutes.

Winners by submission: Hook & Action Bronson

Analysis: ** This was a simple match to put over Hook while Parker and Menard are just there to put people over, so that’s what they did. I think that was longer than most Hook matches since he usually win quicker than that. Bronson looked like he put in some training and did a nice job in the match.

(Commercial)

There was a brief promo from “Smart” Mark Sterling to get some cheap heat before his guys lose a match.

Wardlow & Samoa Joe vs. Josh Woods & Tony Nese (w/Smart Mark Sterling)

Wardlow is the TNT Champion and Joe is the ROH TV Champion. Wardlow exchanged punches with Woods, who managed to hit a German Suplex. Woods did some taunting so Wardlow hit two suplexes across the ring. Wardlow with a spinebuster followed by a clothesline over the top to the floor. Joe and Nese faced off in the ring. Wardlow was grabbing his knee on the floor. Are there even legal men in this match? Anyway, Nese went for a moonsault, but Joe walked away from it and that’s a great spot that Joe has been doing many years. Nese drove Joe’s neck into the top rope. Nese went for a splash, Joe moved and Joe hit a uranage slam. Joe hit a Muscle Buster on Nese for the pinfall win after two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Wardlow & Samoa Joe

Analysis: * Just a squash match to put over the faces. Easy win for them.

Post match, Woods and Nese attacked Joe, but Wardlow was back for a save with a clothesline. Sterling hit Wardlow in the back with a title, Wardlow no sold it and Joe helped Wardlow by tossing Sterling to Wardlow. That led to Wardlow hitting a Powerbomb, the fans wanted more and Wardlow hit another Powerbomb. Joe fed Sterling to Wardlow again, so Wardlow hit the third Powerbomb. Joe and Wardlow celebrated their destruction.

Analysis: They gave the fans what they wanted with Wardlow beating up Sterling. Wardlow and Joe both hold titles, yet AEW really hasn’t had any interesting storylines for either of them in a long time.

Jungle Boy was shown doing an interview talking about testing himself by facing Rey Fenix, who he believes is one of the best wrestlers in the world.

When Jungle Boy made his entrance, they introduced him as “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry instead of just Jungle Boy.

Jungle Boy vs. Rey Fenix (w/Alex Abrahantes)

Jungle Boy with a headscissors takedown followed by a dropkick. Fenix did a flippy move off the ropes into an armdrag. Boy with a chop, Fenix held onto the ropes after being sent into the ropes and hit a hook kick. Fenix with a baseball slide dropkick that sent Boy to the floor. That led to a picture-in-picture break.

(Commercial)

The match returned with a chop fest with Boy getting a knockdown and a forearm along with a back elbow. Boy bounced off the ropes with a clothesline for a two count. Boy hit a brainbuster for two. Boy hit a suicide dive onto Fenix on the floor, Fenix went for a hook kick, Boy moved and hit a superkick followed by a Poison Rana. Boy bounced off the ropes, Fenix wasn’t selling much and Fenix hit a Cutter. Both guys sold at that point. Jungle Boy countered a Powerbomb with a hurricanrana for a two count. Great spot. Boy dropkicked Fenix, who tried a move off the ropes. They were on the apron with Fenix wrenching on the arm for an armdrag onto the apron. Boy came back with a forearm to the face. Fenix hit a running kick to the face from the apron. Fenix went for a diving attack on the apron, but Boy hit him with a superkick. They went to a picture-in-picture break again.

(Commercial)

Boy and Fenix were exchanging punches like most long matches in AEW that love doing that spot. The strikes turned into chops a bit, Fenix delivered a kick and forearms. Fenix picked up Boy and sent him into the knee followed by a Gory Cutter for two. Fenix with a spinning kick to the head. Fenix went to the ramp, he jumped onto the top rope and hit a cross body block for two. Fenix went for a move off the turnbuckle, but Boy hit a Powerbomb followed by a running elbow to the head. Fenix with a superkick followed by the multiple vertical suplexes, but Boy countered after a second suplex and hit a slam off the shoulders for two. When Boy went up top, Fenix hit his legs to trip him up. Fenix jumped off the top with a massive Frog Splash and a slow cover got a two count. Fenix with a spin kick followed by an attempted move off the shoulders, but Boy countered with an inside cradle hooking the legs for the pinfall win after 18 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Jungle Boy

Analysis: **** A great match between two terrific athletes that can do a lot of cool moves in the ring. I still think the selling could be better, but that’s an AEW thing with some of these guys. Since Jungle Boy last at All Out earlier in the month, he needed the win more while Fenix is a tag team guy that can certainly lose a match like this. I think Jungle Boy should have won in a more decisive way instead of a counter because it would put him over even more instead of just doing an inside cradle. It was a very entertaining match.

Post match, Jungle Boy and Fenix shook hands and hugged as a sign of respect.

Christian Cage’s music hit as Jungle Boy watched from inside the ring. Christian had his right arm in a sling as they reached the end of hour one.

Luchasaurus appeared at ringside, then he went into the ring and hit Boy with a headbutt. Luchasaurus hit Boy with a sitout slam off the shoulders. Christian talked about how New York is loud, obnoxious and told them to sit down like the bitches that they are. Christian bragged about how he “squashed” Boy at All Out…thanks to Luchasaurus. Christian told Boy that he will never outstart Christian and never beat him. Christian said since Boy took out his right arm, Christian brought his right hand man Luchasaurus. Christian told Luchasaurus to end Boy, so Luchasaurus hit a Chokeslam.

Analysis: The longest feud in AEW these days. They will have to put Boy over Christian at some point, but not until Christian is back in the ring.

They showed a promo from Chris Jericho after Dynamite with Chris saying there will be a Jericho Appreciation Society celebration on Dynamite next Wednesday. Daniel Garcia wanted to say something, Jericho told him to save it for next week and that was it.

Eddie Kingston got a big pop in his hometown. Kingston is only 6-1 in singles matches. He’s only had even singles matches in nine months? That’s weird. Sammy Guevara made his entrance with his wife Tay Melo and they did a makeout session on the ramp. Sammy is 11-3 in 2022. Sammy did a pre-match promo saying “I’m sorry” he wasn’t man enough to tell Eddie this before and he called Eddie a “fat piece of shit” and Eddie gouged the eyes right away.

Eddie Kingston vs. Sammy Guevara (w/Tay Melo)

Eddie pulled on Sammy’s mouth at ringside, Eddie delivered headbutts to Sammy and did some more face gouging. Sammy with some weak forearms that were no-sold and Eddie did an eye gouge. Eddie with a chop at ringside. Sammy gave Eddie a back body drop off the apron to the floor followed by Sammy delivering a kick to the body. They went to a picture-in-picture break.

(Commercial)

Sammy went for a springboard attack, that led to nothing with a stumble and Kingston hit a suplex across the ring. Sammy with two knees to the face, then a superkick and Eddie caught him with a half-n-half suplex. Eddie with a spinning back first to the face, then another spinning back fist and a third spinning back fist. Eddie applied the Stretch Plum submission, the referee called for the bell and that was it. The match went about seven minutes.

Eddie held onto the Stretch Plum after the bell while referee Bryce Resmburg tried to get Eddie to stop. That led to Jerry Lynn going out to the ring to try to get Eddie to stop, but Eddie wouldn’t let go. A bunch of useless security guys tried to get Eddie to stop, yet none of them were touching him. The senior official Paul Turner told Justin Roberts something, so Roberts announced that the referee reversed the decision, so Sammy gets the win by DQ. Tony Schiavone talked about Tony Khan wants to tighten up the officiating.

Winner by disqualification: Sammy Guevara

Analysis: ** It was a dominant win by Kingston until he held onto the submission too long and it was reversed. That’s not something AEW has done before, so it’s a way to tell a new storyline. That should lead to more matches between Kingston and Guevara in the coming weeks.

Post match, Eddie beat up the security (indy guys) leading to a spinning back fist on one of the guys. Tay celebrated the “win” with Sammy. Lynn was trying to calm Eddie down.

Analysis: This could have been a lot better with a clean finish, but as I said I assume they will keep the feud going in the weeks ahead.

They showed some highlights from Dynamite for about 10 seconds.

TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (w/Leyla Gray & Kiera Hogan) vs. Diamante (w/Trina)

I don’t know much about Diamante and I’m not sure who Trina is, but apparently has an album called “The Baddest Bitch” according to Excalibur. She sounds fun at parties. Diamante with some kicks, Cargill no sold that and overpowered Diamante in the corner. Diamante came back with a dropkick. Diamante got a sunset flip pin for two, Diamante avoided a pump kick leading to a rollup and then Cargill hit the pump kick. Diamante with a dropkick leading to weak bump to the apron followed by Diamante kicking Cargill to the floor. Diamante jumped onto Cargill on the floor, Cargill caught her and slammed her onto the apron. Cargill hit the Jaded slam for the easy pinfall win after three minutes. Cargill is 38-0.

Winner by pinfall: Jade Cargill

Analysis: *1/4 Another easy win for Cargill, who remains undefeated in AEW. Diamante got some offense, but we all knew she had no chance. It’s a two-hour show and the lone women’s match gets under three minutes. They really don’t care about the women’s division much in AEW.

Post match, Trina slapped Diamante in the face and Jade raised her hand.

Analysis: I don’t know why anybody would care about this or why AEW thinks we should care.

Golden Ticket Battle Royal

The winner of this match gets an AEW World Title match in the future. Paul Wight was on commentary so they let him talk on a non-Youtube show for once. “Hangman” Adam Page made his entrance and a bunch of guys attacked him. They went to a picture-in-picture break.

(Commercial)

The bunch of random wrestlers were fighting on the floor, then the bell rang and they went into the ring to start the actual match. Penta eliminated Ari Daivari with superkick. Danhausen did a curse to Kole Carter, then Trent & Chuck eliminated Carter. Danhausen cursed Marshall and Hangman Page tried to get rid of Marshall on his own, but then Page eliminated Marshall with Danhausen. The Blade eliminated Danhausen, which drew boos. Dante Martin botched a move and Brian Cage eliminated him. Cage still works there? He’s never on TV. Best Friends eliminated Hager, Cage eliminated Taylor and Cage tried to eliminate Dalton Castle, but The Boys saved Castle. After Castle went into the ring, he eliminated Cage. Lance Archer gave Trent a Chokeslam onto the apron and then a clothesline to eliminate Trent. Castle was eliminated by Daniel Garcia, then Lee Moriarty eliminated Garcia and Matt Hardy eliminated Moriarty. They went to another picture-in-picture break.

(Commercial)

A bunch of guys were eliminated during the commercial action. The battle royal continued with Private Party doing some tag team moves against Evil Uno. Matt Hardy hit a Twist of Fate on Blade and eliminated. Matt hugged Private Party for a reunion, but that was followed by Matt, Quen and Kassidy all being eliminated. Butcher tossed out Evil Uno and Page eliminated Butcher. John Silver fought with Rush, but Rush managed to dump him over the top to the floor. Penta avoided a charging Lance Archer, who went to the apron and Penta kicked Archer to eliminate him. Penta sent Lethal over the top, Satnam Singh caught his buddy Lethal and Lethal went back in with the Lethal Injection on Penta. Lethal with a clothesline over the top on Penta. Page with a Buckshot Lariat on Lethal and he tossed Lethal out. Page and Rush were the final two men in the battle royal. Rush tried a Powerbomb, Hangman did a headscissors that sent them both over the top to the apron. Rush and Page exchanged chops on the apron, which is dumb to do on the apron, but everybody in AEW loves doing the chop exchange. Page hit the Deadeye slam on the apron where he drops to the knees and Rush bumped to the floor.

Winner: “Hangman” Adam Page

Analysis: **3/4 An average battle royal that could have been better organized. It was obvious that Hangman Page was going to win considering who was in the match and he was by far the biggest star.

The win means that Page will challenge Jon Moxley for the AEW World Title on the Tuesday, October 18 edition of Dynamite.

(Commercial)

It was main event interview time with Mark Henry talking to Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks in the split screen. Hobbs bragged about beating Starks in just over four minutes at All Out. Starks said that he’s going to close the book on Hobbs and Starks will put his lights out once and for all. Henry did his “it’s time for the main event” catchphrase.

The main event was an unsanctioned Lights Out Match. I believe I read that this was taped after midnight. It was a very long taping.

Powerhouse Hobbs made his entrance first. There was a video that aired about Ricky Starks narrated by some woman who said it was “Absolute” Ricky Starks, which led right to Ricky’s entrance.

Lights Out Match: Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Ricky Starks

It started out as a slugfest followed by Starks running the ropes and hitting a cross body block. They left the ring, Hobbs tried sending Starks into the ring post, but Starks came back with a clothesline. Starks sent Hobbs into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Hobbs picked up Starks on his back leading to a neckbreaker onto the knee. Hobbs brought a table into the ring and Hobbs tossed a table onto Ricky’s back, so Jericho gave Hobbs the “Sports Entertainer of the Week” award. It’s so coveted. They went to a picture-in-picture break again.

(Commercial)

Hobbs was in control as he smashed Starks in the back with a steel chair. There was a table stacked up against the turnbuckle. Hobbs hit a running powerslam that sent Ricky’s back into a steel chair, but Starks sent Hobbs into a chair that was against the turnbuckle. Starks hit a DDT for two. Starks went to use a chair, but Hobbs hit him with a low blow. Jericho had a funny line about using the low blow while Tony reminded Chris that he used a low blow to win the ROH World Title. Yes Tony, that’s the joke. Anyway, Hobbs tried a slam onto two chairs, but Starks kicked Hobbs in the groin as payback. Hobbs countered a Starks move with a back body drop that led to Ricky’s lower back hitting the edges of two steel chairs. Hobbs hit a running powerslam on a stack of chairs for a two count. They left the ring, went up the ramp, Starks charged and Hobbs sent him into a light fixture. Hobbs ripped off a light fixture that was part of the entrance area, so it was like a steel structure in his hands as Starks crawled back into the ring with Starks following him. Hobbs tried a swing with the steel object, Starks ducked it and Starks tackled Hobbs into the table that was up against the turnbuckle. Starks hit Hobbs with the light structure. Starks hit the Rochambeau slam onto steel chairs (sort of) and Starks covered for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Ricky Starks

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good match that seemed like a feud ender, but perhaps there will be more matches because Starks got his win back after Hobbs won the first match at All Out. I liked their use of weapons in the match because it made it feel like a fight. There weren’t a lot of nearfalls, but I think that’s okay because of the kind of physical match that they had. I like both guys a lot and I think both of them should be pushed moving forward although it’s tough to push everybody. Hobbs has improved a lot in the three years since I’ve been watching him in AEW. Starks is good as a face, but I think he was better as a heel and certainly got more promo time. Let the man talk. He’s really good at talking.

Ricky Starks had his hand raised as the winner and the show ended there.

 

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Jungle Boy/Rey Fenix
  2. Ricky Starks/Powerhouse Hobbs
  3. Sting/Darby Allin

 

The Scoreboard

This Week: 7.25 out of 10

Last Week: 5

 

Final Thoughts

That was a fun show for the most part and a lot better than most episodes of Rampage. I think two hours is too long for this show, but AEW wanted to get more people on the roster (aside from the women’s division) in matches at a big show like this with a huge crowd. The best matches were the No DQ tag to start, Jungle Boy beating Fenix was great and I liked Starks/Hobbs in the main event.

Some of the stuff in the second hour was boring to me, but the main event was fun with a babyface winning like Starks, so that was a smart way to end the show.

There were some matches on here that were well-built with stories while others were just random matches. AEW has far too many random matches and need to do more to make us care about the matches.

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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