AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with another round of Rampage action, and if you were paying attention to my Dynamite recap, you will know that I was there live for not just that show but the taping of this one as well! Now that the rest of the world got to see what I saw first, was it a worthy capstone to an already great event? Let’s find out!!
Darby Allin Vs. Billy Gunn
Darby is accompanied to the ring by Sting while Billy Gunn is accompanied by Austin Gunn and Colton Gunn
Billy Gunn was certainly not someone I expected to see when I went to the show, but I’m sure glad I did because this match was a lot of fun! Billy is definitely an old hand at this and looks REALLY good as an unstoppable big dude as he takes the time to humiliate Darby and play to the crowd, but unlike a lot of other Heels who are immediately punished for it, he can get away with it because he’s just that big and just that tough! Darby won’t back down though and slaps him RIGHT across the face… and then immediately regrets it by getting tossed ASTOUNDINGLY high up in the air from a Back Drop; a move that is doing his bandaged ribs no favors! What also isn’t doing him any favors is having the Gunn Boys screaming obnoxiously at him at every turn which they’re actually pretty good at as well! I was worried that Heel Gunn Club would fall flat since Colton and Austin had such big Baby Face energy, but they clearly have a much wider range than I gave them credit for and add some flavor to the match! With the rib injury and Billy’s unstoppable power, Darby becomes almost a non-factor in this as Billy spends just as much time staring down Sting as he does throwing Darby around the ring, but his inattentiveness ends up being his downfall as he is caught off guard when Darby starts biting his head which gives Darby enough time to land a Coffin Drop on the Gunn Boys. Darby then hits Billy with a Stunner, Code Red, and two Coffin Drops which somehow manages to be enough to keep Billy down for the three count and win the match. I was a bit confused by this since Billy was doing such a good job keeping Darby under his thumb, but I guess Billy’s stamina isn’t what it used to be; a Glass Cannon as the fighting game enthusiasts would say! The Gunn boys retaliate by attacking Sting, but he takes care of them pretty quickly. Billy lands a Chop Block from behind however, and Sting goes down right next to Darby who’s still recovering from his win; leaving the Gunn Club to stand tall. Do I want to see a match between Sting and Billy? I mean Billy certainly did a lot more here than I expected him to and Sting still has a bit in the tank, so… sure I guess. If nothing else, I’d definitely like to see more of the Gunn Club!
Tony is interviewing QT Marshall who calls out Punk for a match on the next Dynamite which… I mean is probably gonna go about as well as you’d expect, but it should be fun to see! QT is one of the best workers and stooges in the business so I’m sure he’ll give Punk a nice easy match to work before the holidays!
Jade Cargill Vs. Red Velvet – TBS Tournament Quarter-Finals
Cargill is accompanied to the ring by Mark Sterling
I’ll give Jade a lot of credit for doing everything she can to build this match up with that brawl last week, and that effort continues here as she does everything she can to make this match work and not seem like a one-sided squash. Velvet gets a few punches in early on and doesn’t get deterred the least when Jade uses her size and strength to toss her around the ring. She rolls through those tosses and stays one step ahead of the bigger moves, but eventually, her luck runs out when Jade catches her and she has to eat a Fall Away Slam. Still, she’s not about to give up yet and lands a few more moves before sending Jade through the ropes and to the floor. She then tries to follow up with a Suicide Dive that I THINK they edited in the broadcast as Jade smashes her in the face and she’s left draped over the ropes, but I remember the timing of that looking WAY worse in person. In any case, that’s enough for Jade to start the heat segment during the commercial which Velvet eventually gets out of with a few Sling Blades and a Stunner. Things go back and forth with Velvet getting a few impressive two counts, but Jade avoids her Final Slice finisher and uses that opening to smash her to the mat with the Jaded to get the pin and advance to the Semi-Finals of the tournament. Jade DEFINITELY has a presence that could be felt throughout the entire arena, but Velvet put up about as good a fight as you could expect against Jade who AEW is still protecting quite heavily but is starting to come into her own as a wrestler. Maybe not the cleanest or most professionally worked match, but it was still fun to see in person!
Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus Vs. Adam Cole & Bobby Fish
One thing you probably know going into one of these shows but don’t actually realize is that it is FOUR HOURS of wrestling! That’s longer than that last Avengers movie, and at least at this show, they didn’t give an intermission or even much of a bathroom break! At best, you could slip away for a minute while Justin Roberts warmed up the crowd during the commercial, but there are no proper breaks here if you need a minute to stretch or just rest your eyes! That fact, along with the three-hour drive it took to get there… well I just kinda checked out during this match. It was the last one of the night, but my stamina reached its breaking point and I just kinda let it all wash over me which means I had to rewatch the broadcast version just to remember what was going on. It’s a shame because all four of these guys would have had me going WILD if it was in the first two or three hours, and perhaps if I had a nap before the show I could have toughed it out long enough to truly enjoy this. Still, it was fun to see Adam Cole and Jungle Boy’s entrances live, and I did in fact wave my hands during Tarzan Boy! Rewatching it, the match is pretty good! Not my favorite of the night, but it’s also one that you can easily zone out of even if you weren’t exhausted. We’ve seen these matchups before in the last few weeks and while it’s still good work it’s also nothing we haven’t really seen outside of the novelty of Fish and Cole being a tag team again. The Baby Faces get an early lead on the Heels, but then Fish distracts the ref while Cole gets a few cheap shots on Jungle Boy. This starts the heat segment through the commercial, but Jungle Boy manages to fight back with a HUGE lariat after Fish tosses him into the ropes. Seriously, considering how often Jungle Boy uses that rebound Lariat, you’d think everyone would stop setting him up for that! Jungle Boy does his best to reach his corner, but Fish proves to be the faster one and tags in Cole who drags him away right as he’s about to tag in Luchasaurus. Cole gets a bit too big for his britches however and goes for The Boom and a Pump Kick to try and put Jungle Boy away, but he avoids both moves and gets to the corner for the Hot Tag; at which point, Luchasaurus goes to TOWN on the Heels as a chorus of LUCHASAURUS chants emanate from the crowd! Jungle Boy tags back in and the two take out Fish before hitting Cole with the Thoracic Express for a two count. Fish and Cole knock Luchasaurus out of the ring which leaves Cole and Jungle Boy in the ring to trade blows and try to finish the match! It’s almost a mirror match at this point as both trade the same strikes as well as dodge each other’s finishers, but Cole gets the upper hand when he Super Kicks Jungle Boy out of the sky who was attempting a Springboard DDT. Cole then goes for the Panama Sunrise, but Luchasaurus is back in the ring at this point and catches Cole into a Liger Bomb. Fish manages to break up a pin attempt from Jungle Boy and drags Cole to the corner to tag himself in which proves to be a smart move as Fish still has a lot in the tank while Jungle Boy is almost wiped out. Fish works him over in the corner sends him to the other side with a Dragon Screw, but when he charges at Jungle Boy he instead eats an Overhead Suplex that sends him right into the turnbuckle! It’s at this point that the Young Bucks come out to distract Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus, seemingly over their brief pangs of Baby Face guilt, but then Christian Cage runs out with a chair and runs them around the ring before they head up the ramp with Cole. Wait a minute, Cole is up there? Isn’t he supposed to be in Fish’s corner? Well before we can get an answer for that, Fish tries to finish things with a roll-up on Jungle Boy who kicks out and locks in the Snare Trap. Cole and the Bucks won’t come down to help with Luchasaurus and Christian Cage in the way, so Fish taps out; giving the win to Jurassic Express right as the episode comes to an end.
Rampage definitely didn’t have the energy of Dynamite or as many quality matches, but for that last hour we were there, it did its job just fine. I’m kinda disappointed that the main event wasn’t a barn burner to end the night on, though at that point I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it anyway, and they did a few things after the show to send us all home on a happy note. CM Punk came out to talk, Page sang a song, and we even got to see Orange Cassidy and the Best Friends do a hug in the ring! If you have the chance to see them live, it’s definitely worth it as the experience of seeing them in person is much different than watching the show on TV. Just maybe have a nap beforehand as they will wear you down if you’re not properly rested!