This week’s AEW Rampage featured Jon Moxley leading the Blackpool Combat Club in tag team action and the Trios Tag Team Titles were on the line.
It was a live edition of Rampage this week followed by the Battle of the Belts IV show that I will post in a separate review. Normally they tape after Dynamite on Wednesday, but sometimes it’s live like this week.
It’s Friday night and you know what that means. Jim Ross was on commentary with Excalibur, “The Ocho” Chris Jericho and William Regal was also there for the first match. JR called it the “biggest Friday night presentation of AEW action of all-time.” What? The cards for these two shows are not that strong. Their announcers say some strange things to talk up every show as being the best ever.
The AEW World Champion Jon Moxley made his entrance coming in from the crowd and his teammates were up next.
Blackpool Combat Club – Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta vs. Rush & Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen)
Rush and Private Party are part of the same dysfunctional group. There were members of The Firm sitting at ringside. I guess it’s different than sitting in catering every week. Claudio rocked Quen with an uppercut followed by Yuta tagging for a double team boot to the face. Kassidy tagged in to exchange some moves with Yuta, then Kassidy delivered a kick and Yuta came back with an abdominal stretch-style move. Yuta got a sunset flip for two. When Rush tagged in, he wanted Moxley so the AEW World Champion tagged in. Moxley avoided a clothesline followed by Moxley hitting a German Suplex. Moxley hit a corner clothesline as they went to a picture-in-picture break.
The show returned with JR asking “who is legal?” It’s AEW, Jim. They don’t know half the time. Quen kicked Rush out of the ring after Moxley out of the way. It was an accidental guy. Claudio tagged in with uppercuts on Kassidy, then a running boot to the face and the fans cheered Claudio. Quen blocked the Giant Swing attempt, then Claudio had Quen on his shoulders and Claudio did the Giant Swing to Kassidy. That drew cheers because it was very impressive. Rush went in illegally with a headbutt, Moxley with a Cutter on Rush, Quen kicked Moxley, Yuta jumped off the top with a cross body block. Claudio with a backbreaker on Kassidy along with a clothesline. Yuta tagged in with a Superfly Splash off the top for two as Rush broke it up with a kick. Rush dropkicked Claudio, Moxley clotheslined Rush out of the ring and Moxley hit a suicide dive on Rush on the floor. Kassidy gouged Yuta’s eyes. Claudio blocked a Private Party move and hit an uppercut on Kassidy. Yuta avoided a leaping Quen and Yuta hit an overhead suplex into a bicep slice submission (thanks Regal) on the left arm for the tapout win. The match went about 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Blackpool Combat Club – Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta
Analysis: *** Easy win for the pushed Blackpool Combat Club team over the Private Party guys that never get to win TV matches (I don’t remember their last tag team match win on TV) and Rush, who gets a decent push, but not that big. The result of this match was never in doubt, so it was hard to care that much. The fans popped big for Claudio’s Giant Swing on the PP guys, so that was a fun spot to watch. Moxley had a lot of energy as usual. Putting over Yuta being dangerous with submissions is a smart move.
A video aired about Death Triangle defending the Trios Tag Team Titles in the main event against Dark Order.
Tony Schiavone joined commentary because I guess they need four guys at all times. I don’t know why they need so many announcers. Since they pay so many announcers they have to use them.
Varsity Blonds (Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison) vs. Tony Nese & Josh Woods (w/Smart Mark Sterling)
Pillman took down Nese with an armdrag. JR and Tony talked about the win/loss record of Nese/Woods being impressive. So what, they won matches on Youtube against non-contracted talent? JR said they are 7-1 in their last eight tag team matches. That means they won matches on Youtube. Its not a big deal. Anyway, Nese and Woods went for a double team move on Garrison leading to Nese tripping Garrison and Woods hit a knee. Nese shoved Pillman into the ring post. Woods hit an Angle Slam into a neckbreaker by Nese for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Tony Nese & Josh Woods
Analysis: * That was quick. At least it gives Nese/Woods a TV win to try to back up the announcers trying to put them over. This sucked for the Varsity Blonds. Just end the team if they are going to be booked like this.
They showed Arn Anderson watching the TV and he looked frustrated seeing the Blonds lose like that.
Analysis: That could lead to Arn “coaching” Pillman & Garrison, but I don’t know if it’s going to help much.
Nese and Woods were in the ring with Sterling saying that was pretty easy. Sterling was wearing pants that were too short as Jericho pointed out. Sterling said he trademarked the term “Varsity” in professional wrestling, so his team is now called the Varsity Athletes. Sterling said “my groin has been on fire” since National Scissoring Day.
The Acclaimed – AEW Tag Team Champions – made their interest to a huge pop. Max Caster did a rap saying they were unstoppable trying to make the show more watchable (thanks for that). Caster mentioned saving the ratings (I don’t know if you want to mention Rampage’s ratings) and he mentioned Draymond Green of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors punching a teammate this week. Anyway, when The Acclaimed went into the ring, Nese and Woods left the ring. Anthony Bowens said “The Acclaimed has arrived” and then “scissor me, Daddy Ass” led to the scissoring gimmick with Billy Gunn joining in.
Analysis: It’s a good idea to get The Acclaimed on the show since they are popular. I don’t think Nese & Woods deserve a title shot, but they might get a tag match out of that.
They showed Eddie Kingston saying “sorry” for losing control in his match against Sammy Guevara two weeks ago and getting disqualified after he won the match because he held onto a submission move. Eddie said he only gets 30 seconds to talk while MJF gets 15 minutes.
Analysis: They really don’t give Eddie Kingston much promo time. He deserves way more time.
Anna Jay & Tay Melo vs. Madison Rayne & Skye Blue
Jay and Tay are called Tay Jay-AS or something like that. Whatever. Jay and Melo are part of the Jericho Appreciation Society group. There are several short shorts in this match. That is an observation and it is certainly not a complaint. Rayne got a takedown on Jay, Tay tagged in and Rayne tripped up Tay leading to Blue hitting a dropkick. Jay tagged in with a knee on Blue, then Blue avoided a corner attack and did a kick that didn’t even connect, but Jay had to sell it. Tay with a pump kick on Blue on the apron leading to a picture-in-picture break.
Rayne and Jay tagged in with Rayne hitting some weak strikes followed by an enziguri kick. Raye hit a Northern Lights Suplex. The crowd was dead quiet. Blue tagged in with a diving cross body block off the top. Blue hit a spinning kick to the head for two on Jay with Tay breaking it up. Tay didn’t leave the ring and instead hit a piledriver, so Rayne hit a crucifix bomb on Rayne. Jay hit a Gory Bomb on Rayne as a few people make some noise so Jericho said “the crowd starts to respond” but that’s a stretch. Jay with a back kick, on Blue, then Blue hit a standing side kick and Melo went into the ring illegally with a running knee. Jay applied the Queen Slayer submission on Blue for the submission win after eight minutes.
Winners by submission: Anna Jay & Tay Melo
Analysis: *1/4 This was pretty bad. A boring match to put over the heels. The crowd was so dead during this match. The finish was dumb with Tay going into the ring illegally for the cheap shot because wrestlers in AEW are booked to make the referees look inept. I feel bad for some of these babyface wrestlers in AEW that barely get TV time and the crowd doesn’t react to them at all due to that. Maybe Skye Blue could get over some day. They just don’t give her much TV time.
It was time for the split-screen main event interview conducted by Mark Henry, who gets paid a lot of money to barely be on TV. John Silver spoke for the Dark Order saying that Brodie Lee was the man that put them together and led the group. Pac said that with all respect to Brodie Lee, they are Death Triangle and Penta/Fenix said they’re the best trios in the universe while adding that nobody can stop them. Henry ended it with his “it’s time for the main event” catchphrase.
Next week on AEW Dynamite in Toronto:
* Jack Perry vs. Luchasaurus.
* “Daddy Ass” Billy Gunn vs. Swerve Strickland. They showed Swerve doing a promo saying he was there to hurt Billy. Swerve said next week, Billy Gunn is dune.
* Toni Storm & Hikaru Shida vs. Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Jamie Hayter.
* ROH World Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Bryan Danielson.
The Dark Order’s John Silver, Alex Reynolds and Ten made their entrance. The Death Triangle trio of Pac, Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix made their entrance as the Trios Tag Team Champions.
AEW World Trios Championships: Death Triangle – Pac, Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix vs. Dark Order – John Silver, Alex Reynolds & Ten
The action was chaotic right away with Silver and Reynolds hitting dives on the floor while Fenix hit a hurricanrana on Ten. Silver and Reynolds into the ring with a double team slam on Fenix. Ten hit a delayed vertical suplex on Fenix. Reynolds tagged in with an elbow drop on Fenix, who followed up with a jawbreaker on Reynolds. Penta tagged in and ran right into a superkick by Reynolds. Silver tagged in leading to double dropkick for two. They went to a picture-in-picture break.
Fenix was in the ring with kicks on Reynolds and Silver to knock them both down. Fenix took down Ten leading to a double foot stomp on the chest. Penta tagged in with a diving cross body block off the top rope. Penta tossed Silver onto Ten in the corner and Penta hit a backstabber for a two count. Penta and Fenix hit superkicks on the floor. Pac was legal against Reynolds with a superkick followed by a German Suplex. Fenix and Penta were randomly in the ring delivering multiple kicks to Reynolds and they all hit dropkicks on Reynolds. Pac delivered a belly-to-back suplex. Pac hit a running back attack on Reynolds against the turnbuckle. Fenix and Penta did a double team move leading to a dropkick to the leg or maybe the groin area. Penta was legal for his team as he kicked Reynolds in the arm. Penta chopped Reynolds in the test. Pac tagged in with a knee drop. Pac sent Reynolds out of the ring with a suplex on the floor.
Death Triangle were still in control with Pac on offense against Reynolds. Pac sent Reynolds into the ropes and Reynolds hit a double foot stomp on Pac’s back. Ten tagged in with some hot tag offense including a double clothesline, a belly-to-back suplex and a spinebuster on Fenix. Pac and Penta were in the ring illegally as they attacked Ten. Penta knocked the other partners off the apron. Fenix, Pac and Penta hit a triple on Ten. JR: “For some reason, the referee is allowing three men to beat up one.” It’s AEW, Jim. They always make the referees look like useless idiots. Death Triangle hit some combo splashes on Ten with Fenix getting a two count. Ten countered Fenix with a suplex. Silver tagged in against Pac in a battle of short muscular guys. They each hit pump kicks, Pac hit a snap German Suplex that was no sold by Silver and Silver hit a barrage of kicks followed by a brainbuster for two. At least Pac sold that move unlike Silver no-selling the German Suplex. Fenix tagged in with a top rope leap, Silver avoided it and Silver hit a clothesline. Ten and Reynolds picked up Fenix, but Fenix fought back as best he could. Silver and Reynolds lifted up Fenix, Silver charged in and hit a Pendulum Bomb for a two count by Reynolds. Excalibur screamed about it as a nearfall. Fenix hit a springboard hurricanrana on Reynolds. Penta tagged in, all three Dark Order guys were in the ring and Penta hit the Slingblade and backstabber on guys in the ring. Silver and Reynolds hit their combo moves like a German Suplex and Stunner leading to Ten’s discus lariat. I guess Reynolds was legal because he made the cover as Penta and Fenix broke up the pin. The fans woke up to chant “this is awesome” briefly. Jose The Assistant showed up with some envelope, the Dark Order nerds were distracted and Rush showed up at ringside. Rush handed Pac the bell hammer, so Pac hit Reynolds with the bell hammer. There was no logical reason for the referee to be looking at the guys out of the ring instead of the legal guys on the top rope, but that’s what allowed Pac to do the illegal hammer spot. Fenix ran across the ropes and dove onto Ten on the ramp. Fenix was punching Silver to take care of him. Pac tagged in and applied the Brutalizer submission on Reynolds, who was out after the hammer shot. This match went 21 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Death Triangle – Pac, Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix
Analysis: **3/4 A very long match that was okay, but I don’t think it was great or anything like that. The reason it’s not that great is they went over 20 minutes and Dark Order got maybe two good nearfalls. Even then on the second good nearfall it was obvious there would be a pin breakup. If they cut out five minutes it probably would have been more interesting. It felt like half the match was Reynolds selling as the face in peril. I don’t mind that kind of traditional tag team storytelling, but it went on for too long and broke down into the usual AEW chaos tag. They could have done the hammer spot better because the referee was looking at illegal guys instead of the legal men, which doesn’t make any sense, so again they are making the referees look inept. When you have JR openly criticizing it wondering why three men on the same team are allowed to be in the ring at the same time, it’s like taking a shot at how badly the referees look. The champions retaining was the obvious result since the Dark Order group always seems to fail in title matches. The crowd got into some parts of the match although they were quiet for most of it.
They plugged AEW Battle of the Belts IV immediately after this match. That was the end of Rampage.
Three Stars of the Show
- Death Triangle (Pac, Penta & Fenix)
- Blackpool Combat Club (Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta)
- Dark Order (John Silver, Alex Reynolds & Ten)
This Week: 5.75 out of 10
Last Week: 5.5
An average show with two solid, but unspectacular six-man tag team matches to open and close the show. The women’s match was boring with a dead crowd. The crowd was dead for much of the show, but at least The Acclaimed were briefly on and cheered heavily.
I know the announcers try to act like everything is great in AEW, but let’s not act like Rampage is an interesting show every week. Trying to sell us that this show and Battle of the Belts were major events was a big stretch. I’m just being honest.
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