Welcome to the AEW Rampage review here on TJRWrestling. It’s a special two-hour episode that was taped after Dynamite on Wednesday.
This is AEW Rampage from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, New York (or Queens I guess). Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Let’s get to it.
The Rampage video aired followed by some pyro and the fans were ready to go. The announce team Excalibur, Taz and Ricky Starks were on hand to call the action. They replaced Mark Henry with Starks last week and I guess that’s a permanent move. No Chris Jericho because he’s in a match. They barely book Starks in matches on TV, but they can put him on commentary here.
Powerhouse Hobbs entered with Hook. A video aired about how this was set up a couple of weeks ago. CM Punk got a huge ovation from the crowd. This was Punk’s first match on television in over seven and a half years. It’s also his second AEW match as he comes into it with a 1-0 record. Hobbs is ranked #2 in the AEW rankings that aren’t as important as some people think. Taz and Starks are biased towards Hobbs since he is on Team Taz with them.
CM Punk vs. Powerhouse Hobbs (w/Hook)
There were loud “CM Punk” chants to start the show as Punk worked over Hobbs with kicks to the legs. Punk with a drop toe hold and then he dropped back to add to the pain. Punk with a Russian legsweep leading to a middle finger towards Hook. Punk picked up Hobbs, Hook on the apron, Punk was distracted and Hobbs came back with a clothesline on Punk. Hobbs with a hard whip into the turnbuckle two times in a row. Punk countered a suplex into a rollup, but then Hobbs came back with a running body attack. Hobbs hit a running back splash to Punk’s back leading to a picture in picture break for about 90 seconds.
Hobbs was in control with a bearhug. They exchanged punches, forearms, Punk with a couple of kicks and a leg lariat. Punk hit a swinging neckbreaker as the crowd came alive for Punk. Hobbs into the corner, so Punk hit a clothesline. Punk went up top, he took way too long, he said “it’s been a while” and hit the elbow drop off the top for two. That was one of Punk’s regular big moves. Punk went for the GTS, Hobbs blocked it and hit a belly to belly slam for two. Good spot there. Punk applied a sleeper, he got Hobbs down to a knee and Hobbs countered with a belly to back suplex. Hobbs with the stampede powerslam for a two count. They went to the turnbuckle where Punk tried a hurricanrana off the top, Hobbs blocked it and then Punk managed to hit it for a two count. Hobbs landed hard on his head. Ouch! I don’t know what happened there, but that looked painful. Punk had a cut above his lip. Hobbs powered out of a submission into a sitout Powerbomb for two. They exchanged forearms again, Punk with a roundhouse kick to the side of the face and Hook was on the apron, but Hobbs knocked him down by accident because Punk moved. Punk hit the Go To Sleep knee to the face on Hobbs for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: CM Punk
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a solid match. Punk did his best while Hobbs is still learning a lot of things, but he’s getting better every time I see him. Punk wrestled a smart match going after the legs for most of the time he was on offense, then Hobbs took control and Punk made the comeback to win. No surprise by the result because I doubt CM Punk will be losing that often in AEW. Punk looks pretty good for a guy that hasn’t wrestled regularly in over seven years. That spot with the hurricanrana was scary, but it looks like Hobbs is okay, so that’s good.
A video aired about the issues between Thunder Rosa, Nyla Rose and Jade Cargill. Rosa said she fights her own battles. Cargill said that Nyla took out Cargill from behind in the battle royal. Rose said that she will put them down. I guess they’ll have a match soon.
The Young Bucks and Adam Cole made their entrance for a trios tag team match. Cole got his own entrance music as he joined his friends. They were wearing Superkliq shirts because that’s what this trio calls themselves. Don Callis joined commentary. Don: “Who’s the mark with the mask on?” He was talking about Excalibur. Don makes me laugh. Cole did his “Adam Cole bay bay” pose with the fans chanting along.
Analysis: I have said in the past that AEW should do commercials after entrances. This is progress for them. It’s smarter this way. I know WWE does it and they don’t want to be like WWE, but it’s a way to show more of the action.
Christian Cage was up next as the Impact Wrestling World Champion. He was joined by Jurassic Express with the fans humming along to the Jungle Boy song.
Superkliq – Adam Cole and Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) vs. Christian Cage and Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy)
Christian and Matt had an exchange of punches, Christian with some hard chops to the chest and punches. Christian stepped on Matt’s back leading to an uppercut punch for two. Jungle Boy tagged in for a double flapjack and a dropkick. Cole bailed instead of fighting Boy. Matt punched Boy to the throat, then Boy worked on both Young Bucks with a springboard into a double armdrag that looked very choreographed, but still drew a big pop. Boy wanted to face Cole, who ran away and Young Bucks hit double superkicks. The referees lost control as there was fighting on the floor with Matt hitting a dropkick that sent Luchasaurus into the barricade. Cole held Boy in a submission, Young Bucks ran the ropes, kissed Cole in the cheek and hit a double dropkick.
The match returned with Boy fighting out of the heel corner and Luchasaurus tagged in. Luchasaurus cleaned house on all three heels with back body drops and a double clothesline. Luchasaurus delivered kicks to all three guys and Chokeslammed Cole onto Matt, which was pretty cool. Luchasaurus slammed Nick off the top for a two count. Cole saved Nick from a double team move and Cole/Nick with a double superkick on Luchasaurus. Matt hit Christian with a superkick and a DDT on Boy. Boy did a hurricanrana followed by a German Suplex on both Bucks and Christian jumped off the top with a headbutt so Boy got a two count. Boy went for the submission, Gallows distracted and Matt/Boy each hit shots on eachother to knock them both down. Cole and Luchasaurus did some fake looking punches. All six guys were in the ring. Luchasaurus with a headbutt, Cole with a kick and a double pump kick. Boy sent Nick and Matt on the floor. Boy with a jumping attack on Matt on the floor, Nick with a kick and Christian with a Spear on Nick. Matt with a low blow on Christian and tossed him off the ramp to the floor. Bucks tossed Jungle Boy off the ramp too. Back in the ring, Luchasaurus wit ha kick to the leg and a running knee for two. Cole with a superkick on Luchasaurus, Cole hit Panama Sunrise and then the Bucks hit the BTE Trigger leading to the Boom (Last Shot) from Cole for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Superkliq – Adam Cole and Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson)
Analysis: ***3/4 The match was very good with a lot of action that was tough to keep up with at times. There’s so much going on inside the ring and outside the ring during matches like that. Since the referee was Rick Knox, the rules were basically thrown out the whole way and that made it tough to enjoy at times. Cole continues his winning ways after the Young Bucks took care of Christian and Jungle Boy, so poor Luchasaurus was a dinosaur without any friends.
Post match, Adam Cole and Jungle Boy stared at eachother. They are clearly building to a singles match between them.
The Men of the Year team of “All Ego” Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky entered with Dan Lambert of American Top Team joined them. Chris Jericho and Jake Hager were next with the crowd singing along with the “Judas” song. Ricky Starks pointed out that the song is about Jericho turning on the fans. Anyway, the singalong is always cool especially when it’s about 20,000 fans like this.
Chris Jericho & Jake Hager vs. Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky (w/Dan Lambert)
Jericho worked over Sky with a running double axe and a back suplex. Jericho with the ten corner clotheslines that Roman Reigns used to do in his babyface days. Hager tagged in with a double shoulder tackle on Sky. Jawbreaker by Sky, Page tagged in and Hager hit him with a hiptoss. Hager with a side belly to belly suplex on Page for two. When Jericho went back in, Page hit him with a kick to the head. Lambert hit Jericho with a cheap slap to the face as the show went to break.
The match returned with Hager and Page out on the floor after Page hit a shoulder tackle. Sky tagged in with a chop block to the back of Hager’s left leg. Hager and Page were the legal men with Hager hitting a big clothesline. Jericho tagged in against Sky with two shoulder tackles, a springboard dropkick on Page on the apron and Jericho jumped off the top with a double axehandle. Jericho jumped off the middle rope with a Lionsault for a two count. Hager with a toss across the ring followed by a Hager Bomb off the ropes for two. Hager applied an Ankle Lock on Sky while Jericho had the Walls of Jericho on Page as the show reached the top of hour two. Lambert was on the apron distracting the referee Aubrey Edwards. Hager let go, went after Lambert and Sky got a rollup. Hager hit a uranage slam for two and Page made the save. Jericho sent Page out of the ring leading to an over the top attack on Page on the floor. Hager with a body slam on Sky followed by a boot to the face. Lambert grabbed Hager’s foot and Sky got an inside cradle on Hager to win by pinfall after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky
Analysis: ***1/4 A cheap finish to give the heels the win. I think that was the right decision because Page & Sky could use it while it made Lambert look useful at ringside. Jericho was moving around great for a guy that’s 50 years old. Sometimes his age shows, but other times like in this match he shows he can still produce good matches. The finish wasn’t clean, but that’s okay occasionally and an inside cradle is better than a rollup at least. The story continued after the match.
Post match, Hager and Jericho cleared the ring. They brought Lambert into the ring. That led to former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos going down to the ring, Paige Van Zant was there, Andrei Arlovski, there were more guys that I didn’t know and then a big name as Jorge Masvidal showed up. The fans responded to that. Arlovski and Hager exchanged punches, but then there was a takedown. The MMA guys were delivering punches and forearms on Jericho. Hopefully they were worked punches and forearms. Paige punched Jericho in the ribs repeatedly and Masvidal hit a running knee to the face! The fans popped but then also booed these guys. Lambert’s team celebrated. Jericho had some blood on his forehead, but they only showed it briefly.
Analysis: Good angle to continue the story. It will be interesting to see if some of the MMA guys actually get in the ring to have matches with AEW guys because I’m sure some of them could do a decent job in pro wrestling if they put the work in. Even though Jericho and Hager are in the Inner Circle, their fellow stable guys Santana, Ortiz and Sammy Guevara made no effort to save them at all. There was no explanation for that. It’s AEW, though. Heel beatdowns happen all the time without saves. Anyway, I don’t see the story ending here, so Inner Circle facing Lambert’s team will likely continue.
It was time for yet another tag team match. The third straight tag team match.
Lucha Brothers (w/Alex Abrahantes) and Santana & Ortiz vs. Private Party & The Butcher & The Blade (w/Matt Hardy & The Bunny)
The Lucha Brothers and Santana/Ortiz were all cheered loudly. Those four faces cleared the ring and they all hit dives onto the heels at the same time. That was cool. Fenix and Santana hit a double superkick on Blade and then Pentagon slammed Ortiz onto Blade. Private Party hit a double team DDT on Ortiz on the floor. Fenix got caught by Blade leading to Butcher hitting a huge Powerbomb on Fenix. Matt Hardy had some scissors with him as he tried to cut some hair, but Orange Cassidy showed up. Jack Evans was on the ramp, so Cassidy punched Evans with an Orange Punch.
Santana tagged in with a Cutter, Ortiz with a lung blower, Santana with a thrust kick, double team slam by Santana/Ortiz and then Marq Quen hit a twisting splash onto Ortiz on the floor. Isaiah Kassidy with a Stunner off the ropes. Penta with a superkick on Kassidy and then a lift into the double knee backbreaker. Penta with a hard kick to the leg. Butcher hit a massive cross body block on Penta. Fenix with a hook kick on Butcher. Blade with a pump kick and clothesline on Fenix. Everybody was down so everybody was selling for a bit. Blade with a body slam on Santana, Quen was up top and missed a SSP while Penta went in with a Slingblade. The refereeing was terrible as usual. Double team foot stomp by Lucha Bros and then the Street Sweeper neckbreaker double team from Santana/Ortiz. Santana got the pin for his team.
Winners by pinfall: Lucha Brothers (w/Alex Abrahantes) and Santana & Ortiz
Analysis: ***1/2 Good stuff as usual. Also terrible refereeing like usual, but I know a lot of people don’t care. I’m just saying instead of having four guys in the ring all the time, they could try to have more of a regular tag team match. Lucha Brothers are incapable of having a bad match while Santana/Ortiz always deliver too. My main issue with a match like this is there’s no way the heels are going to win and they barely did any nearfalls to try to make it look like the heels might win. Santana was emotional since he was in his hometown and his father passed away recently. Happy for him. He’s a good dude.
Matt Hardy was interviewed by Tony Schiavone. Matt was mad about his team losing. They lose often. Matt said that Penelope will end Anna Jay’s return. Matt said that Orange will have a Hair vs. Hair match against Jack Evans. Jack wasn’t happy about it with Matt telling him that he better win.
Analysis: Matt made it look like he was going to challenge Cassidy to the match, but he made Evans do it even though Evans didn’t want to. Cassidy will probably beat Evans. I’m sure when Matt faces Orange it will probably be Matt who loses that too.
Sammy Guevara appeared on the stage with his best friend Fuego del Sol with cue cards, but then Miro showed up to attack them. Starks and Taz celebrated. Miro clotheslined Sammy on the stage. Fuego jumped on Miro’s back, then Miro slammed him down. Miro tossed Fuego off the stage onto some padding below. Miro applied the Game Over submission on Sammy on the stage.
Analysis: Good angle to build to Miro’s TNT Title defense against Sammy Guevara next Wednesday on Dynamite. Big bump by Fuego there. There could be a title change.
Andrade El Idolo did a promo saying what Chavo Guerrero did in his match was unacceptable. Andrade said he can beat Pac again and this time he won’t have an excuse for losing.
Penelope Ford vs. Anna Jay
Jay attacked Ford on the ramp since they have had issues for weeks. Back in the ring, the match began with Ford hitting some forearms. Ford charged, Jay lowered the rope and Ford went over the top to the floor. Jay whipped Ford into the ring post. Back in the ring, Jay with running back elbows and a back kick. Jay went for a sleeper, then The Bunny went down to the ring and Jay let go. Ford set up Jay on the top rope followed by a running kick to the head. Ford did some choking by the ropes leading to a break.
Ford and Jay exchanged slaps, Ford went for the sleeper and Ford drove her back into the turnbuckle. Bunny distracted the referee and threw the brass knuckles to Ford. That led to Ford putting the brass knucks on and punching Jay with the brass knucks for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Penelope Ford
Analysis: *3/4 A cheap win for the heel Ford while Jay’s best friend Tay Conti wasn’t at ringside to help her. They only got seven minutes and we only saw four minutes of it because of the commercial, so that sucks for the women having such a short match. I can say that Jay and Ford have both improved from when they started in AEW. The finish was classic old-school heel booking.
After the match, Ford and Bunny attacked Jay. That led to Tay Conti running out to save her friend. The save didn’t work because Ford and Bunny overpowered her while Ford punched Conti with the brass knucks.
Matt Hady and the Hardy Family Office appeared since Bunny/Ford are in their stable. Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander the alien girl were on the stage. A bunch of the Dark Order guys went down toe the ring, so Hardy Family Office bailed. It looked like there were about 20 guys/girls around the ring. So many stables and so many people in the stables. The Dark Order guys looked like they were on the same page, but Evil Uno and Stu Grayson left.
Analysis: This should set up a tag team match between these four women. It may also set up a tag team match between all of the guys. There are so many stables. It’s hard to keep track of who is part of what sometimes.
Next Wednesday on AEW Dynamite in Rochester, NY:
* Miro defends the TNT Championship vs. Sammy Guevara
* Dante Martin & Matt Sydal vs. Cody Rhodes & Lee Johnson
* Penelope Ford & The Bunny vs. Tay Conti & Anna Jay
* Jungle Boy vs. Adam Cole. That will be awesome!
Next Friday on AEW Rampage:
* Orange Cassidy vs. Jack Evans in a Hair vs. Hair Match.
Mark Henry did a split-screen promo with Lance Archer and Minoru Suzuki on one side against Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston. Archer spoke about having the Lights Out Match, then Kingston said he was sick of it and Moxley said that the next chapter in this rivalry is a Lights Out Match. Mark said that the main event is next. That’s all Mark does now.
They showed recording artist Lil Uzi Vet sitting at ringside. I have no idea who that is. That’s okay. I’m old.
It was announced by Justin Roberts that the next match is a Lights Out match so the lights will be shut off to put an end to the sanctioned event. When the lights come back, AEW is not responsible for what takes place. Anything goes in this unsanctioned Lights Out Match. The lights went out briefly and then back on.
Lance Archer and Minoru Suzuki made their entrance first with Archer carrying some kendo sticks with him. When Archer went to ringside, he hit some guy with a forearm and hit another guy with a kendo stick. That was random, but Archer does that sometimes.
The popular team of Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston made their way through the crowd. They got a big pop as usual. As soon as they got to ringside, Archer & Suzuki attacked.
Unsanctioned Lights Out Match: Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki vs. Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston
Archer battled Kingston on one side of the ring while Moxley and Suzuki were over by the steel steps. Suzuki got two chairs and tossed one of them to Moxley. They had a chair joust, Suzuki with a knee to the ribs and Suzuki punched Kingston into the ring. The fans chanted “Eddie” for Kingston in his hometown. Kingston and Suzuki got in a chop battle with Suzuki laughing about it. Kingston with a back heel trip to knock Suzuki down. Kingston set up a table against the turnbuckle. Suzuki kicked Kingston so that Eddie went back first through the table. Archer beat up four random guys in grey shirts at ringside. That looks like fun. Archer gave Moxley a Chokeslam off the apron onto the four guys in grey shirts. Archer had a strap, Suzuki with a punch and Archer was strangling Moxley with a strap over the top rope. That’s when Excalibur let us know they had to take a break. Good timing lol!
The good news is that Moxley survived being strangled and then Archer taped the hands of Moxley behind his back. Archer used the strap to hit Moxley in the back. Suzuki lashed Moxley across the back two times and then some more strap choking on Moxley. Suzuki applied a single leg crab submission. Kingston was out of the ring for a long time during all of this. Archer beat on Moxley a bit and then he beat up Kingston on the floor some more. The fans tried to rally Moxley, who spit in Suzuki’s face while Archer held onto Moxley. Suzuki bit Moxley’s head, which is disgusting. The fans were chanting for Eddie as Archer hit Moxley with kendo stick shots. A lot of standing around and waiting as Moxley avoided a charge and fought back with headbutts. Kingston with a comeback on both opponents including repeated chops, a thumb to the eye, more chops and an overhead suplex. Suzuki applied a sleeper and then Archer hit a Helicoaster (Bossman Slam) on Kingston. The fans were booing as Moxley and Kingston remained on the mat. Archer was about to hit his finisher on two chairs, but then NYC wrestling legend Homicide went out to the ring with a steel chair. Homicide hit Archer and Suzuki with chair shots. Homicide cut the tape to free Moxley. Suzuki sent Homicide out of the ring. Suzuki hit Moxley with a chair. Moxley with a DDT on the chair. Kingston with a spinning back fist to Archer two times. And Moxley hit a DDT on Archer. Kingston hit Archer in the back with Excalibur noting that Homicide was his best friend. Kingston put the trash can on Archer’s head and Kingston used the kendo stick to repeatedly hit the trash can. Kingston covered Archer for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston
Analysis: ***1/2 This was violent fun. I’m surprised that nobody was bleeding. Instead of the handcuffs, they opted for the tape around the hands. The appearance of Homicide was a nice touch since he’s close with Kingston, but it wasn’t really a huge pop or anything. Maybe some fans didn’t know him. Then again, this was also four hours into a long night of taping, so maybe the crowd was tired. Anyway, it was smart for Kingston to get the win since he’s an NYC guy, so he should go over there. Suzuki continues to lose in AEW although it was Archer that took the pin in this match. Some of the match was a bit boring after the taped hands and standing around a lot, but they finished strong.
After the match, Moxley and Kingston celebrated with their buddy Homicide. That’s the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Superkliq – Adam Cole and Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson)
- Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston
- Lucha Brothers and Santana/Ortiz
This Week: 8 out of 10
Last Week: 6.75
Best Rampage episode ever and also the longest since it was two hours instead of one hour. More star power than usual, plenty of great in-ring action and super hot crowd made it a lot of fun to watch. A lot of tag team wrestling made it feel repetitive, but I get that AEW wanted to get more people on the show. There wasn’t really a match of the year contender or anything like that, but some reviewers might like the Young Bucks match more than me since they name moves after certain people. I just have a hard time ignoring the bad refereeing sometimes in matches like that.
In terms of storylines, there wasn’t that much done. I think it was more about putting on great matches, which they did.
It was fun to watch. I enjoyed it.
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