AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with another week of Rampage action, and with Dynamite being on something of a hot streak recently, this show has to work extra hard to be the best hour of wrestling each week! Can this episode hope to keep up with the amazing reveals and the brutal action on the main show, or is this going to be AEW’s B-show while Dynamite is building up towards the PPV? Let’s find out!!
Roppongi Vice (Trent Beretta & Rocky Romero) Vs. Young Bucks
Roppongi Vice is accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy while the Bucks are accompanied by Brandon Cutler
I have no idea what a Roppongi is, but this is a team that was around for quite a while in New Japan, so having them go up against the Bucks is like the good version of when TNA kept hiring old guys to rehash old feuds on their show. I should probably find some of those matches as well because if this is any indication of what they were like, then they’re right up my alley because this was a goofy good time! The shtick starts off early when Trent and Rocky get a decent start on the Bucks, so they just give up and head up the ramp. Roppongi Vice obviously follow them, but SWERVE! They turn around and Super Kick them before running back to the ring in the hopes of scoring a count-out victory, which they very nearly do as Rocky barely makes it back at nine. Oh, but that’s not all! The Bucks get a few good shots in at Roppongi Vice due to their scheme and then start to menace Orange Cassidy who just peaces out and rolls under the ring. The Bucks drag him back out only to find that it’s Danhausen who starts waving his arms while Roppongi Vice hits Stereo Suicide Dives! The Bucks eventually regain control after this and start playing games with Rocky Romero (going so far as to the Best Friends hug in front of him), but eventually, he makes the hot tag to Trent who runs wild and the two hit a Doomsday Device on Nick Jackson. Soon after, Trent hits an Avalanche German on Matt Jackson followed by a Strong Zero which would have won the match, but Nick Jackson breaks up the pin. This was their best chance to bring the match to a close, but they are undeterred and go for another Doomsday Device… only for Matt Jackson to flip out of it and for the Bucks to then hit a Meltzer Driver on Rocky. Trent manages to break up that pin attempt, but he’s not able to break up the next one as the Bucks hit a BTE Trigger and get the pin to win the match. Orange Cassidy is checking on Rocky while Brandon Cutler is dancing around the ring acting like a Stooge, so Cassidy hits the Lousy Kicks before landing the Orange Punch. Not appreciating this attack on their henchmen, the Bucks hit a Superkick Party on Orange Cassidy, and then Jay White shows up and hits the Blade Runner on Trent; thoroughly trouncing the Baby Faces and setting the stage for an even STRONG Elite faction. As long as they keep adding new guys and new matchups, I suppose I can’t complain too much about this feud getting long in the tooth. It’ll be interesting to see how Jay White fits into everything, but how many more guys are we gonna get on both sides of this conflict? Is it going to be like one of those comic book crossover events where everything stops and focuses on this one big feud? That would actually be pretty awesome now that I think about it. Twenty dudes on one side of the ring versus twenty dudes on the other! Let’s make it happen!
Tony Schiavone is in the back interviewing Bryan Danielson. He doesn’t mind that Moxley teamed up with CM Punk and is confident that Moxley will make the right decision in time. Before that however, Matt Sydal wants to have a few words with Danielson about his recent comments regarding his protégé Lee Moriarty. To prove that Sydal is training this kid right, Moriarty volunteers to face Danielson on Wednesday’s Dynamite which sounds like throwing a decently trained swimmer into a shark tank, but perhaps Sydal has trained him well enough to keep up with Danielson.
Britt Baker Vs. Robyn Renegade
Baker is accompanied to the ring by Rebel (Not Reba)
AEW must be trying to expand their women’s roster because this is the second match in two shows where a person completely new to AEW television is put in a somewhat competitive match against a champion. On Dynamite it was AQA holding her own against Jade Cargill, and now it’s Robyn Renegade giving Britt Baker a genuine run for her money! Robyn gets some solid moves in at the start, but Baker stays mostly in charge for the first half of the match and gets a fear near falls. Her hope spot comes after the commercial break with a POWERFUL Shotgun Drop Kick that sends Baker flying into the corner and continues the assault until she gets a two count from a Frog Splash. They go back and forth for a bit but eventually, Baker starts to get momentum and hits a Ripcord Elbow Strike followed by a Fisherman’s Neckbreaker. With Robyn nice and tenderized, she finishes her off with a Stomp and gets the pin to win the match. As I said, I was not expecting Robyn to get as much as she got here and I guess Baker wasn’t expecting it as well so she punishes her by putting her in the Lockjaw well after the bell has rung. Thunder Rosa runs out and takes out Rebel (Not Reba) without breaking stride, and she tackles Baker and rains down fists until Jamie Hayter shows up to break it up. Mercedes Martinez runs in to attack Rosa as well, but she and Hayter start arguing instead as the Baby Faces make their escape. It’s pretty amazing that Mercedes Martinez, someone who is much more established, had a much worse first match than a relative unknown like Robyn Renegade, and just like with AQA I hope that we see more of her in the future!
Hook Vs. Blake Li
Li is accompanied to the ring by QT Marshall
Speaking of mediocre first matches, Blake Li pretty much sacrifices all his credibility on the altar of Hook as he gets thrown around with abandon and taps out within a few minutes of the match. The only offensive move I recall him landing was an elbow to the face and that was only after QT got on the apron to momentarily distract Hook; a shot that did him little good as he followed up with a middle rope splash that Hook dodged with the least amount of effort imaginable. I like Hook and he looks really good in the ring, but it’s starting to get on the wrong side of insufferable and I’m ready for him to actually have to work to win a match. You can have unstoppable powerhouses, but even they tend to have a few struggles in a match. Just look at someone like Jade Cargill who’s not much more experienced yet is able to sell moves without losing an ounce of credibility. Hook needs a veteran to go up against like say a Dustin Rhodes or a Christian Cage; someone who can still lose to him but really make him earn that win and teach him a few things along the way. Something tells me that QT Marshall is not going to be that guy, so if we can move on from the Factory feud, that’d be great.
Jurassic Express Vs. Gunn Club – AEW Tag Title Match
Jurassic Express is accompanied to the ring by Christian Cage while Gunn Club is accompanied by Billy Gunn
The Gunn Club as obnoxious Heels has worked out better than I was expecting it to, but that’s mostly been in promos and backstage segments as matches have been few and far between. In this match though, they prove themselves to be quite a menace! Perhaps not enough that you believe they could have beaten Jurassic Express, but they certainly gave them a run for their money. Things start off well for Jurassic Express as Jungle Boy out wrestles Austin Gunn rather handily and Luchasaurus is as formidable as ever, but things start to change once Austin lands a big lariat that knocks Jungle Boy inside out. This starts the heat segment during the commercial, but even when we come back the Gunn Club manage to hold onto their advantage with smart tag team tactics. Their blind tag game is on point as every time one of them gets into peril, the other one tags in and halts Jungle Boy’s momentum. Not only that, but they are very resilient so even after taking a pretty big hit like when Jungle Boy sends Austin over the ropes, he has enough awareness to rush over and knock Luchasaurus off the apron so that Jungle Boy can’t get the desperately needed tag. Where they start to screw up though is being cocky and obnoxious as Austin starts teasing Luchasaurus instead of finishing off Jungle Boy. Luchasaurus grabs him and only lets go once Jungle Boy is back up and behind Austin so that he can hit a German Suplex. Colten makes a quick tag and tries to stop Jungle Boy, but they’ve held him back long enough and he finally gets the hot tag to Luchasaurus who runs wild on the two once again! After a Choke Slam and Standing Moonsault combo only get him a two count, he tags in Jungle Boy so they can work together for a few seconds only for Austin to attack from behind and eventually knock Luchasaurus out of the ring. Jungle Boy tries to make the save but ends up hitting a Suicide Dive on Luchasaurus instead of Austin who then gets a Quick Draw on Jungle Boy. He’s thrown into the ring so that Colten can finish him off, but he goes for one of the most audacious illegal pins I’ve seen (he puts his feet on the TOP rope) and so Christian Cage has to knock him off. Well, Billy Gunn is not happy about THAT so he tosses Cage into the steel steps, and Austin hits Jungle Boy with the title belt while Billy is distracting Ref Aubrey. It looks bad for the Baby Faces as the belt shot is usually the kiss of death, but Jungle Boy manages to kick out while his buddies take care of the rest of the Gunn Club outside of the ring. Jungle Boy hits the Kill Switch and gets the pin to win the match, and the episode comes to an end as The Gunn Club sheepishly walk up the ramp while Jurassic Express celebrate in the ring!
AEW has been on a roll the last two weeks and this episode continues to show some of the best that AEW has to offer. The only real problem I had here was the angle with Hook which is starting to feel a bit old, but there is more than enough solid in-ring action to compensate for that, and I’m glad that the Gunn Club finally showed what they could do in a big main event match! Perhaps they can join the Elite in their upcoming war with the Best Friends? I mean they may not be Adam Cole or Young Buck level guys, but any army needs a few ground troops, right?