This week’s AEW Rampage featured Jon Moxley and Claudio Castagnoli in tag team action, plus FTR teamed with Shawn Spears in the main event.
This edition of Rampage was taped on Thursday in Toronto. I was going to go to Dynamite and Rampage, but changed my mind earlier in the week. I got questions from people asking why I didn’t go because they think I live in Toronto. Nope. I’m in London, Ontario with about 400,000 people in a thriving city. It’s a 2.5-hour drive to Toronto, which has terrible traffic, so sometimes it takes even longer. When I was younger I made the trip for shows or sporting events (Blue Jays, Raptors or Maple Leafs) often, but as you get older and your age starts with a 4, there’s less interest in making that trip. Sorry AEW. I’ll come next time maybe, stay at a nearby hotel, take a train and do it that way. I should also add that TSN doesn’t show Rampage most weeks, but it airs on TSN Direct, which I don’t really like. I usually download or stream it off a site and watch it that way.
It’s Friday night and you know what that means. Jim Ross was on commentary with Excalibur and Tony Schiavone. William Regal was there for the first match.
They went right into the action in the first match. They posted the introductions on Youtube, so you can watch it below if you really want to watch the introductions. The Bunny aka my fellow Canadian Allie wins outfit of the night with the Canada flag colors well represented.
Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli vs. The Butcher & The Blade (w/The Bunny)
Moxley and Claudio were in control early on as they sent their opponents into the barricade. Blade gave Moxley a move that crotched Moxley onto the top of the barricade. Moxley hit a German Suplex while “Hangman” Adam Page was shown watching a TV because he’s facing Moxley next Tuesday on Dynamite. Claudio tagged in, Blade raked the eye and Butcher tagged in with a running knee. If I was the director I would show The Bunny a lot more, but I’m also a biased Canadian that likes pretty blondes in Canadian colors. Claudio hit Butcher with a suplex. Blade was back in, Claudio hit some uppercuts along with a running uppercut in the corner. The Bunny jumped into the ring to protect her husband The Blade, so that led to The Butcher getting a cheap shot and the heels took over.
Blade was in control of Claudio with a chinlock, Butcher went in after a tag to knock Moxley off the apron and Blade hit a crossbody block into Butcher suplex for a combo move. Claudio hit an uppercut on Blade along with a lariat. Moxley got the thot tag leading to a Cutter (and double middle finger salute) on Blade, Moxley hit Butcher with a forearm off the apron. Moxley hit a suicide dive onto Butcher on the floor. Moxley set up Blade on the turnbuckle, then the dreaded back rake and a superplex. Moxley hit a piledriver for two. Moxley stomped on the head of Blade, so Butcher went into the ring (illegally of course) and hit a cross body block on Moxley. Butcher made the tag, Claudio went into the ring illegally and the wrestlers faced off in the ring. Moxley and Claudio each ducked punches followed by double lariats. Moxley and Claudio each stomped on faces of the opponents. Moxley hit a Death Rider on Blade and Claudio hit the Ricola Bomb on Butcher for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli
Analysis: **3/4 It was good for the time given with Claudio as the face in peril leading to Moxley on fire after the hot tag. They worked hard to have a fun match that had an obvious result since we know Moxley isn’t going to lose a tag team match like this. The Butcher and The Blade are a talented team that know how to be heels, but they don’t really get pushed much. It’s nice to see Claudio get a win although I’m still waiting for him to be part of an interesting story.
Post match, AEW World Champion Jon Moxley did a promo. Moxley asked Claudio if they cared about who they get in the ring with, Claudio said “no” and if they get knocked down, do they stay down, so Claudio said “hell no.” Moxley delivered a message to Hangman Page saying if he doesn’t step up, so Claudio said to Page: “Son, you’re going to get stepped on.” They showed Hangman watch on the TV backstage.
Analysis: I think Moxley will beat Hangman on Dynamite in what should be an outstanding match that goes around 20 minutes.
Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee were interviewed by Renee Paquette. Swerve said that they want to get the AEW Tag Team Titles back. Swerve thinks it’s funny that Mark Sterling trademarked the “scissor” thing. Lee said that Swerve can be great and wondered why they needed to cheat. Lee told Swerve that all that nonsense means nothing while telling Swerve that he is “swerving into the wrong lane.”
Analysis: It seems like Swerve is on his way to going full heel while Lee will be a face. I hope Lee gets a significant push as a face rather than remaining in a tag team.
The Dark Order (Silver, Reynolds, Evil Uno & Ten) were interviewed by Renee Paquette. Jose The Assistant interrupted telling Ten that they have been following them for two months. Ten said he can face Rush next week and when Ten beats him, those guys can leave him alone. The four Dark Order guys put their hands in, then Stu Grayson was there and he put his hand. Stu said they were in Canada, so he’s not going to miss this.
Analysis: I don’t think that means Stu has re-signed with AEW. I think he lives in or near Toronto, so that’s why he was there.
Let’s Hear from Chris Jericho and The Jericho Appreciation Society
The Jericho Appreciation Society group led by Chris Jericho made their entrance. The fans got to sing along with “Judas” unlike on Dynamite when Jericho entered to the Lionheart song. Jericho was with Daniel Garcia, Angelo Parker, Matt Menard and Anna Jay. It was an impressive singalong by the crowd.
Parker started off saying that the family is back together. Menard did his yelling routine asking if you want to know what makes Daddy Magic’s nipples hard? Menard said it’s that the JAS is going to be together forever. I don’t believe that, but heels lie. Anna Jay introduced the man of the hour, the man with the power and the man that’s too sweet to be sour…Daniel Garcia.
Garcia, the ROH Pure Champion, was greeted with a “Garcia” chant by the enthusiastic crowd. Garcia said that everybody has been asking why he did what he did this past Wednesday. Garcia spoke about how Jericho has said that sports entertainers are superior and he didn’t want to listen because the fans told him to be a pro wrestler like his hero (Bryan Danielson). Garcia said he’ll never be a pro wrestling and although Danielson is his hero, he taught Garcia so much about fighting spirit, but when Jericho hit Garcia with the Ring of Honor Title, Jericho taught Garcia how to win. Garcia said that’s when he realized that sports entertainers beat pro wrestlers every single time. Garcia said that he’s got a confession to make: “My name is Daniel Garcia and I’m a sports entertainer.”
Analysis: I’ve said for months now that it is absolutely brilliant from Jericho and this group to get heat just for saying sports entertainer instead of wrestler. It’s all the same thing, but milking it for heat is so smart.
Chris Jericho said he’s going to continue to beat every single Ring of Honor Champion that has ever existed.
That led to Dalton Castle and The Boys making their entrance. They are the Trios/Six-Man Tag Team Champions as the fans greeted him with a “Dalton Castle” chant. Castle said he used to be Ring of Honor World Champion and said it makes him sick to see that that title around Jericho’s waist. Castle said these lights stay on because his heart beats. Castle said if Jericho grants him a title shot next week on Dynamite then he’ll be the new ROH World Champion. Jericho told Castle that if he wants it then he’s going to get it. Jericho said that the Ring of Jericho Era is here, “all honor The Ocho.” That was it.
Analysis: It should be another win for Jericho. At some point, he’ll lose the ROH World Title, but I don’t see it being to Dalton Castle. A solid promo from Castle showing a sense of pride towards ROH while pushing the idea that Jericho is evil for being disrespectful to ROH.
A video aired about Toni Storm defending the Interim AEW Women’s Title against Hikaru Shida next week on Dynamite. Very basic promos from both women.
Nyla Rose (w/Marina Shafir & Vickie Guerrero) vs. Anna Jay A.S. (w/Angelo Parker & Matt Menard)
Nyla Rose is not the TBS Champion, but she stole the title from Jade Cargill, so she wore it on her way to the ring.
Rose with a body slam using the size advantage. Rose hit another body slam followed by a leg drop for two. Rose hit a running splash in the corner. Rose went for a corner attack, Jay moved and Rose hit the corner. That led to a picture-in-picture break.
Rose hit a kneelift while Jay was by the ropes, then Jay had to sit there while Rose went to the top, but Jay moved out of the way, which makes that spot better. Jay with a necksnap against the ropes followed by a neckbreaker. Jay got a boot to the face, Jay jumped off the ropes, Rose caught her and sent her into the turnbuckle. Rose hit the Beast Bomb for the pinfall win after six minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Nyla Rose
Analysis: *1/2 A boring match with no story or much heat because they are both heels. Rose beating a heel would be better. They should time commercials better by going to a break during the entrances and show the whole match instead of only showing three minutes of a six-minute match on the full screen.
Post match, Vickie Guerrero had a 1-0 sign mocking the winning streak of Jade Cargill. That led to Jade Cargill making her entrance with Leyla Gray and Kiera Hogan. Some indy wrestlers were there as security, so Cargill kicked and punched them easily. Cargill was yelling at security, so Rose and friends went up the ramp.
Analysis: This made Cargill look dumb since she was focused on yelling at security instead of getting her title. The “stolen title” story is lame anyway and I don’t know if this means we are supposed to cheer Cargill or not.
There was a video that aired featuring comments from Ari Daivari challenging Hook to an FTW Title match next week on Rampage.
Analysis: I predict an easy win for Hook. This company has way too many titles.
Ethan Page (w/Stokely Hathaway) vs. Isiah Kassidy (w/Matt Hardy & Marq Quen)
They didn’t show their entrances. Ethan is from nearby Hamilton, Ontario and is one of the worst-booked wrestlers in AEW considering how good he is. Ethan tossed a t-shirt at Kassidy and hit Kassidy with a pump kick. Ethan did a press slam across the ring followed by a shoulder tackle. Ethan mocked Hardy leading to Matt doing the “delete” hand gesture. Kassidy got a rollup for two followed by an impressive DDT for two. Kassidy ran the ropes and jumped over the top with a twisting dive onto Ethan on the floor. Hardy got in Hathaway’s face on the floor, Kassidy went up top and Kassidy missed a Senton Bomb. Ethan hit a Twist of Fate like Hardy. Ethan hit the Ego’s Edge release Powerbomb for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Ethan Page
Analysis: *1/4 A squash match with a few cool moves. Ethan Page should be in a more meaningful spot in this company.
Due to Page winning, Hardy’s contract now belongs to The Firm group just like Private Party’s contract belongs to them. Matt sold it like he was dejected.
Analysis: The “own a wrestler’s contract” thing is another booking trope they do in AEW that I feel is lame. They did it with Wardlow “working for MJF” for years. They’ve done it for others.
The Best Friends group was shown on the stairs with Orange Cassidy talking about how he got some gold. Trent and Chuck suggested a Trios Tag Team Tile match against Death Triangle. Orange said he didn’t know Dynamite was on Tuesday this week. I knew it. I know things.
It was main event time with Mark Henry conducting the interview. Prince Nana and his team that has no chance of winning this match did a promo with Brian Cage saying they are not better than him. Shawn Spears and FTR spoke with Spears saying that the “Perfect Ten” is back. Dax Harwood said tonight will be a fight, but he never backs down from a fight. Cash Wheeler said that The Embassy might be forever, but The Pinnacle is always on top. Henry did his “it’s time for the main event” catchphrase to end it.
Analysis: Remember The Pinnacle? I don’t think even think it lasted six months and they were barely shown together after the initial feud with The Inner Circle. There was a lack of long-term planning with that group.
They showed the introductions for the main event with Shawn Spears getting cheered while being called “The Perfect 10” so it’s going back to his NXT gimmick when he was Tye Dillinger. Excalibur talked about how it’s been about five months since he had a match. FTR was cheered a lot too as the ROH, IWGP (NJPW) and AAA Tag Team Champions. They also can’t seem to get an AEW Tag Team Title match. The Gates of Agony made their entrance as the heels.
The Embassy – The Gates of Agony (Kaun & Toa Liona) & Brian Cage (w/Prince Nana) vs. FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) & Shawn Spears
Spears and Kaun exchanged some holds early on with Spears doing a snapmare along with the “ten” hand gesture repeatedly. Spears worked over Kaun with corner punches leading to another “ten” spot. Spears knocked Liona down on the floor, then he jumped over the top onto the heels, so Wheeler dropkicked them down on the floor. That led to a picture-in-picture break.
The Embassy heels were in control of Spears after doing a spot where they distracted the referee. Liona hit a running splash onto Spears on the apron. The legal man Cage hit a suplex on Spears while standing on the middle ropes while Spears was on the apron. When Cage tried a slam, Spears hit a DDT to counter. Spears kicked Kaun to break free, so Harwood got the tag with punches along with a spinebuster on Kaun. Cage into the ring illegally wit ha clothesline on Harwood and a superkick on Wheeler. Cage tagged in, Kaun with a slam and Cage hit an elbow drop off the top for two, but Spears broke up the pin. Spears sent Liona out of the ring and then Cage hit Spears with a spinning slam off the shoulders. Wheeler went in illegally to stop a double team on Harwood and then Harwood/Wheeler applied Sharpshooters at the same time. Spears gave Nana a Sharpshooter as well with the fans standing and cheering. Liona went back in with a double clothesline and a uranage slam. Liona missed an attack on the floor. Spears hit a DDT on Cage on the floor. Kaun tried pinning Harwood with a rope grab, but Wheeler broke it up. Wheeler tagged in, Spears also tagged in and FTR did a Hart Foundation “Hart Attack” move (the announcers didn’t even mention it) and Spear hit the C4 running slam for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) & Shawn Spears
Analysis: *** This was pretty good with the heels on offense for much of it until the faces made the comeback for the win. I liked the finish with the Canadian man Spears getting the win since he needs it now that he’s back in the ring in a babyface role. The Sharpshooter spot worked great, but I don’t know how they the announcers failed to mention FTR doing the Hart Attack double team move that Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart used to do. Anyway, it was fine for a predictable match.
The Kingdom trio of Matt Taven, Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis-Bennett made their entrance for a promo on the stage. Maria called herself the First Lady of Professional Wrestling. Maria mentioned that FTR never competed against them while pointing out that Taven/Bennett held those ROH/IWGP titles first. Maria said that ROH was built on their backs and they never get the credit they deserve. Maria said they are The Kingdom. The Embassy attacked FTR and Spears from behind, so then The Kingdom went into the ring to join the fight. Excalibur wondered if the heels were aligned. Samoa Joe & Wardlow slowly made their way out there for the save, so all the heels retreated. The show ended there.
Analysis: More stables, more teams, more titles and more brawling. AEW just adds more to everything. It would be better if Wardlow had an actual feud for his TNT Title because they seem to have nothing for him.
Here’s a video with Shawn Spears addressing the crowd after the match. His mom died a few months ago, so that’s part of the reason why he was away for so long.
Three Stars of the Show
- FTR & Shawn Spears
- Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli
- The Butcher & The Blade
This Week: 6.5 out of 10
Last Week: 5.75
It was the usual average edition of the Rampage. Two matches around the three-star level is okay, but they oftentimes have better matches than that. The Jericho promo followed up on the Garcia-Jericho story from Dynamite and also set up Jericho’s next title match next week on Dynamite.
They are doing a nice job of building up matches for next week. Sometimes they just throw random matches out there, but I think they have improved in terms of how they set up matches.
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