AEW Rampage is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with even more Rampage action, and with the PPV getting closer and closer it will only mean more chaos and more surprises around every corner! Does this continue the build to the big show with lots of fun and excitement, or will the pressures of the PPV keep this from straying too far from the destination? Let’s find out!!
Sammy Guevara Vs. Andrade El Idolo – TNT Title Match
Andrade is accompanied to the ring by AHFO
Doesn’t it feel like this match should have been on the PPV? I mean if you’re gonna have Andrade go for a title, it should be at a show big enough for such an occasion, right? Well, we’ve got the match that we have, and for a Rampage opener, it was pretty darn good. Sammy once again proves he’s willing to completely destroy himself as he goes for the Double Springboard Cutter only to get shoved off the ropes by Andrade, and Andrade himself is much more reserved and methodical in his approach. He works over Sammy during the commercial break with a lot of heavy strikes, but then he makes a mistake as he goes for a Flying Knee which Sammy dodges and sends him tumbling over the turnbuckle and down to the floor. Eventually, it settles into a decent back and forth exchange of great moves like when Andrade hits a DDT over the apron and when Sammy hits an Avalanche Spanish Fly, but the Heel can’t help from cheating, and once again this is his downfall. Andrade distracts the ref while Matt Hardy takes off one of the turnbuckles and Andrade keeps trying to throw him into it. Eventually he goes up top and sets Sammy up for an Avalanche El Idolo, but Sammy escapes and kicks him off the corner which sends him fac- first into the exposed turnbuckle. Just once I’d like to see a Heel actually pull something like this off so that it makes sense for other Heels to try it. As far as I can tell, the only guy who has any luck with weapons is MJF and his Diamond Ring, but even he hasn’t tried to remove a turnbuckle! With Andrade’s face smashed open by the steel corner, Sammy finally lands the Double Springboard Cutter to get the pin and win the match; an outcome that Matt Hardy doesn’t approve of and so he starts attacking Sammy. Fortunately for the champ, Darby runs down, runs through the ring, and hits Matt Hardy on the other side like a cannonball while Sting provides backup in the ring. Not a bad match, but the fact that it was on TV means that it wasn’t as big as it could have been and I would have liked to see it on Revolution, even as one of the lower card matches.
QT Marshall comes out and starts yelling at Taz about his disrespectful spawn that he named Hook and he calls him out to show him some respect. Hook eventually saunters his way from the back to the ramp and QT sends a bunch of his Factory Flunkies to attack him. Really young flunkies mind you, so it’s almost like watching Fagin send his army of Dickensian orphans to the front lines! Naturally, they all get crushed by the might Hook and he leaves with sparing another thought to QT Marshall. This has been a pretty regular feud for a while now and yet despite the PPV coming up there doesn’t seem to be an end goal yet. Maybe they’re saving it as a surprise match, but really I just want someone with actual credibility to call Hook out for his obnoxious attitude and give him his first real challenge.
Dan Lambert and Men of the Year are in the back complaining once again, but Lambert does promise Scorpio Sky a TNT title match before the winner of the Face of the Revolution match gets his. Now that I think about it, Andrade got a TNT title match tonight, Darby got one a few weeks ago, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Lambert can get the match signed, so what’s the point of the Face of the Revolution ladder match? What’s the point of any wrestler winning TWO matches, the qualifier and the ladder match itself, to get a title match when you can probably just ask Sammy and get one? I guess that’s one of those things you shouldn’t think too hard about and you can wave it away with the ranking system, but still, it feels a bit odd to put this much attention on it, right?
Wardlow Vs. Nick Comoroto
Wardlow is accompanied to the ring by Shawn Spears while Comoroto is accompanied by Aaron Solo
Comoroto is one of the few people who can give Wardlow a run for his money as far as size and strength, and the two spend most of this match just throwing each other around! It’s awesome to see dudes this big in the ring and is a great preview for the upcoming Face of the Revolution ladder match, and this makes it all the more baffling that they throw a commercial break right in the middle of all this great action. I guess maybe you don’t want to wear them out so having a long break in the middle helps keep them from getting too gassed, but it’s still a disappointment when they go to the itty bitty corner box just when things were starting to get good! Fortunately, it does have a rather satisfying ending as Comoroto walks into a Choke Slam from Wardlow who then sets him up for the Powerbomb. Comoroto almost manages to escape it, but Wardlow grits his teeth and gets him up to drop him back down with the force of Thor’s hammer! He then hits the second Power Bomb, and then a third, and finally a Fourth to get the pin and win the match! Aaron Solo tries to land a Cross Body on Wardlow, but this proves to be a terrible idea as Wardlow catches him with very little effort. He then lifts him up for the Powerbomb, but Shawn Spears hits Solo with a chair; no doubt hurting Solo but also hitting Wardlow’s hand in the process. Shawn Spears tries to justify it by saying that the Powerbomb is not a move that the crowds are into (the crowd here does not feel that way and makes it known) and that Wardlow needs to finish these matches more efficiently. They’ve been dragging this thing out with Spears and Wardlow for months now, and they already choose not to pull the trigger on this with the CM Punk match, so how much longer can they stretch it out before it becomes tedious? I’d say not too much longer, but AEW certainly likes their slow-burn stories.
Serena Deeb Vs. Kayla Sparks – Five Minute Rookie Challenge
Even with everything she has stacking things in her favor, Deeb feels to cheat by choking Sparks with her robe. She then hits a bunch of strikes on the worn-out Sparks who is still gasping for air, does a convoluted submission hold on the turnbuckle, and eventually puts Sparks in the Serenity Lock and gets the win in less than three minutes. I’ve got nothing new to add to this angle, so we’re just moving on!
Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa Contract Signing – Who’s going through the table!?
Well, the answer to that question is not who you’d expect, but we’ll get to that soon enough! Rosa doesn’t have much to say here and is just eager to beat the crap out of Baker, but the champ takes this time to really dig into Rosa and try to mine some gold out of this feud. She does end up making a few good points here about how the Lights Out match propelled her career while leaving Rosa right where she was (though I probably wouldn’t pull on that thread TOO hard, Britt) and by the time she finally gets around to signing the contract, Rosa is ready to pounce and leaps over the table to tackle her! Jamie Hayter comes to her boss’s defense, but we get a plot twist as Mercedes Martinez runs down and DOESN’T stomp on Rosa; instead, turning her aggression toward Jamie Hayter who is in fact the one put through the table! I’m not sure what the Face turn of Mercedes Martinez here means for the PPV match, but we’ve seen these two put on a great show before and I’m confident they can do it again.
Orange Cassidy Vs. Anthony Bowens – Face of the Revolution Qualifier Match
Cassidy is accompanied to the ring by Wheeler Yuta while Bowens is accompanied by Max Caster
I’m glad that Bowens is getting as much time in the ring as he has been recently and Caster feels much more at home as a manager than in the ring. He likes to talk and when he doesn’t have his head up his butt he can usually come up with some good rhymes, though he does get shown up in a sense by Orange Cassidy who spits a few lackadaisical bars himself. Regardless of all that, we’re at the final qualifier match for the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match, and while Bowens would be great as another big dude to have in the match, this is definitely Cassidy’s match to win. He gets stomped on pretty early by Bowens during the commercial break, but it doesn’t take long for him to gain some momentum and go through all the hits. The Cross Body from the top rope, a Stundog Millionaire out of nowhere, even a couple of DDTs for good measure; all of which keep Bowens fighting on defense and struggling to keep up. He does get some nice moves in like this Spinning Face Buster, and he does almost get the win with a Surprise Roll-Up that’s followed by a Clothesline and a Body Slam that forces Cassidy to roll out of the ring. Caster starts menacing him, but before he can do anything to get him and his buddy disqualified, he’s interrupted by none other than Danhausen who puts a curse on him! The curse basically translates to the guy getting momentarily distracted so that his opponent can get a cheap shot in, and sure enough, Cassidy bashes Caster over the head with an Orange Punch that knocks him to the floor! He runs into the ring and lands an Orange Punch on Bowens (who WASN’T cursed so I’m not sure why he couldn’t avoid that one) and Cassidy gets the pin to win the match! Danhausen kinda points at him while Cassidy gets his arm raised right as the episode e comes to an end.
Given how plot-heavy and angle-focused the last few weeks have been, this was refreshingly light and fluffy without a whole lot of important stuff going on to get in the way of fun wrestling action. It’s exactly the counterbalance I needed after the rather plodding episode of Dynamite that preceded it, and while some things didn’t work for me like the Serena Deeb challenge, nothing managed to stick around long enough for me to get too annoyed at it. The next Dynamite is the Go Home show with the PPV only a few days after so it’ll probably be just as plot-heavy if not more so. Hopefully, they can find a better balance, but if worse comes to worst, we’ll always have Rampage to pick us back up!