AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
So the last Dynamite was a pretty rough slog to get through which means I’m in JUST the right mood for what AEW themselves are calling THE FASTEST HOUR OF WRESTLING and at least until last week that was usually the case. Does Rampage get us back on track with a light and fun episode of wrestling action, or will it be bogged down as much as the last Dynamite and even the last Rampage? Let’s find out!!
Bryan Danielson Vs. Nick Jackson
Nick Jackson is accompanied to the ring by Matt Jackson and Brandon Cutler
So now that Danielson and Omega got their first big match out of the way, we can start going through some of the other dream matches while building up towards the rematch; a win-win situation if you ask me even if the crowd didn’t like their first match ending in a draw. Nick Jackson is also a good opponent to put him up against in his quest to face off with the ENTIRE Elite as people are still talking about his singles match with Rey Fenix, and it should come as no surprise that these two have a great match! Danielson may not have Nick Jackson’s high flying abilities, but he’s good at keeping him grounded and has a pretty sizable advantage throughout the match. Jackson’s case isn’t helped by the fact that he isn’t taking this seriously at first opting to show off and play around with cold spray rather than face Danielson directly, and he pays for this several times with Yes Kicks, brutal submissions, and a Dragon Sleeper that he only manages to escape by thumbing Danielson in the eye. The only reason he gets the heat during the commercial break is that he throws Danielson outside and starts distracting the ref while Matt Jackson tackles and hammers him on the floor. Still, he can’t help himself and starts to play around by giving Danielson his “unique” variation on the Yes Kick that only serves to tick Danielson off; so much so that he’s starting to FEED off the force of those kicks until he’s finally standing tall! He spits in Nick Jackson’s face and just goes WILD on the guy! STRIKE! KICK! STRIKE! KICK! A nonstop barrage of offense from Danielson as he makes Nick Jackson PAY for giving him such puny kicks! Nah, he’s gonna show him what REAL kicks look like and gives him a bunch of Yes Kicks for a two count! It’s time for Nick Jackson to put up or shut up, so after taking a few Running Knees from Danielson, he stops him in his tracks with not one but TWO Super Kicks that net him a two count. Nick Jackson then goes for the 450 Senton, but Danielson gets the knees up and he instantly transitions into the LeBell Lock. Jackson rolls to the apron and Danielson follows with even more Yes Kicks, but Jackson ducks after the first few and Danielson hits his shin on the ring post. Jackson follows up with a German Suplex on the apron and an Escalera to the floor before he tosses Danielson into the ring to put him in a Sharpshooter where he just barely gets to the bottom rope to break the hold. It’s starting to look bad for Danielson who rolls out of the ring, but luckily for him, Nick calls his shots and shouts SEE YA before charging at him with a kick and he’s able to duck it only for Brandon Cutler to eat he move instead. In the confusion, Danielson lands a German Suplex on the floor and rolls Nick Jackson in which could spell the end of this match, so Matt Jackson gets on the apron to distract the ref. Danielson gives him a forearm that sends him to the floor so naturally Nick Jackson gives him a surprise roll-up, and even if it only got a two count, it at least leveled the playing field between them as we head into the finish. Jackson lands a Superkick and goes for a Roundhouse to follow, but Danielson dodges and lands a Tiger Suplex into a bridge for a two count. Still holding Nick Jackson he starts HAMMERING on the dude’s chest to the delight of the crowd, and once he’s done he locks him in the Cattle Mutilation. Nick Jackson taps out which gives Danielson the victory to the consternation of The Elite who come out to look after Nick Jackson while Jurassic Express come out to look after Danielson. A brief brawl breaks up as it naturally should, and Jurassic Express gets the upper hand in anticipation of an upcoming Eight Man Tag Match between the two factions.
Jade Cargill Vs. Nyla Rose Vs. Thunder Rosa – Three Way Match
Cargill is accompanied to the ring by Smart Mark Sterling while Rose is accompanied by Vickie Guerrero
This is definitely an interesting match-up as we’re definitely building towards a Rosa/Baker match sometime down the road, but we also have Jade Cargill in there whose whole gimmick is her unstoppable aura, so putting these two in a ring is kind of a big deal even if Nyla Rose is on hand to cover up any of Jade’s greenness. Rosa gets a strong lead to begin with as a Kazadora into a Bulldog keeps Jade down for a bit, but Nyla Rose has the strength advantage and catches Rosa in a Diving Cross Body before SLAMMING her to the ground. Rosa rolls out while Rose and Cargill try to solve their differences via a strike exchange, and a big Pump Kick from Jade has Nyla leaning on the ropes before giving her a Clothesline that sends her tumbling over the ropes. With Rose out of the ring, Rosa gets up on the top rope and lands a Missile Drop Kick right before we cut to commercial wherein Cargill brings a trashcan into the ring and Vickie and Nyla set up a table outside. The big spot when we get back is that Rosa has Jade up against the ropes and lands a Drop Kick on the trash can that’s propped up against Jade, and she goes for a pin but it’s broken up by Rose. Rose attempts a Choke Slam on Rosa but she fights off and shoves her into Cargill who lands a Spine Buster. Rosa tries to press the advantage only for Jade to take her out with another Pump Kick, but it turns out the Spine Buster must not have done TOO much damage as Rose is already back and up and gets a Neck Breaker on Cargill before putting her in the Single Leg Crab. Jade is saved by Rosa who lands a Basement Drop Kick on Rose to break up the hold and gets a two count. Clearly, someone has to be removed from this equation if there’s going to be a finish to the match, so Nyla puts Rosa on the turnbuckle and is gonna try to Superplex her into the table, but Rosa slips underneath and lands a Powerbomb that sends Rose through the table. Now I would have thought that this would have meant that Rosa would go after Jade, but instead, she drags Rose back into the ring to try and get a pin on her while Jade lies in wait with a chair. She hits Rosa across the back and then hits her a few times on the mat for good measure before getting the pin and winning the match. If the goal was to make Rosa look good for the title shot while keeping Jade looking unbeatable, I think the match missed the mark. Rosa having the VERY obviously bad idea of dragging Rosa into the ring instead of going after Jade did not help her case, and the fact that Jade won with a chair shot without even bothering to cap it off with her finisher didn’t make her look like a dominant champ in the making. Still, the action inside the ring was solid with Rosa getting a lot of offense and the other two showing their power, so I’d say it was a good match even if it didn’t do as much as I would have hoped it to.
We get an announcement that kind of comes out of nowhere as none other than Bobby Fish has challenged Sammy Guevara for the TNT belt. Well we hear Sammy talking about it in a promo at least but we don’t get to see or hear from Bobby Fish himself so I guess we’re gonna have to take Sammy’s word for it. Now the TNT title was at one point known for letting people from anywhere challenge for the belt which is how guys like Eddie Kingston and Ricky Starks made it to AEW, but considering who he is and ESPECIALLY his relationship to Adam Cole, you’d think it would have been announced with a little more fanfare!
Orange Cassidy Vs. Jack Evans – Hair Vs Hair Match
The thing is, I like Jack Evans and TH2! They weren’t the MOST electrifying guys when AEW first started, but they were definitely one of the first teams to make a name here and the two of them can still put on great matches when they’re called to! I wouldn’t say this DOESN’T showcase Jack Evans’ talents, but it’s definitely a clown show right off the bat with Evans taking the pie to the face. Jack Evans at the start of this match is swinging wildly and missing hard enough to just flop on the mat and even gets spun around by his ponytail which doesn’t bode well for his chances of keeping it, but the one-sided assault does come to an end when Matt Hardy yanks Cassidy out of the ring and punches him behind the ref’s back. With this momentary respite, Jack Evans leaps to the apron and lands a Corkscrew Kick before going back up and landing a 450 splash which starts the heat for Evans. Once we return from commercial and after Evans has hit like ten Springboard Elbows, Cassidy reverses the move and tosses him over the turnbuckle to land on the floor below. To make sure there is no more interference, Cassidy uses this time to land a Suicide Dive on Matt Hardy and then drags Evans back into the ring for a Diving Cross Body that hits its mark, but Evans somehow transitions it into a pinning predicament and gets a two count! From here we get the Jack Evans that I like where he starts pulling off some good moves of his own and even reverses some of Cassidy’s attacks for good measure! An attempt at a Swinging DDT from Cassidy gets reversed into a Northern Light Suplex that Evans follows up with a Standing Sky Twister. This only gets a two count so Evans has to up his game and go to the turnbuckle for a Sky Twister Press, only for Orange to roll out of the way. Evans goes splat once again and Cassidy finally gets his Swinging DDT! Not content with that however, Cassidy gets up on the turnbuckle and lands a Diving DDT… BUT JACK EVANS KICKS OUT AT TWO! The dude’s still got a fair bit of fight in him, but Matt Hardy is not feeling too confident so he calls out the ENTIRETY of HFO (which at this point is like a baker’s dozen of dudes) to stand on the ramp with him. AH HA! But you see, Orange Cassidy has friends as well; the BEST FRIENDS in fact, and so Chuck Taylor, Wheeler Yuta, and Kris Statlander stand in between HFO and the ring. Not much of a defense given HFO’s numbers advantage, but then The Dark Order come out to bolster their defenses and so HFO has a real fight on their hands if they wish to interfere! Now because we’ve been focusing on this for the last two minutes I’m not sure exactly what happened in the ring, but Jack Evans is arguing with the ref about SOMETHING when we get back to the ring, and Cassidy hits him with a surprise Orange Punch that instantly knocks him out and gives Cassidy the pin; winning the match and saving his hair while condemning Evans’! Angélico tries to break through but the Dark Order rebuff him and Hardy makes the tactical decision to bail on Evans, so the guy does get a chunk of his hair shaved off by the Best Friends while Orange Cassidy sweeps with a giant broom. One of the Dark Order members who came out was Negative One and so after Evans is done getting humiliated, all the members of Best Friends and Dark Order give him a Best Friends hug as the episode comes to an end!
This was definitely an improvement on the last episode of Dynamite and arguably the last Rampage, in so far as it’s back to its original runtime. I like my Rampage episodes to be short and sweet and this delivered on that for the most part. The opening match was DEFINITELY the highlight with Danielson giving us yet another fantastic match, but I even enjoyed the other two quite a bit as well. I got what I expected out of an episode of Rampage and I’m perfectly fine that they didn’t try to give us more than that.