Arena: Chaifetz Arena
City: St. Louis, Missouri
Coming off a much-improved Dynamite, it’s Saturday morning, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!
Jon Moxley vs Dante Martin
Backstory: Dante & Sydal made the challenge in a vid package on Dynamite, the former’s tired of the ‘potential’ label
William Regal joined Excalibur, Taz & Jericho on comms, labelling the latter a ‘troutslapper’ – despite having relatives in Blackpool, even I’m lost with that one. Sidenote, Dasha’s a better ring announcer than Justin. Livelier and way more charismatic.
Mox slapped Dante’s outstretched hand away as Regal addressed Zack Sabre Jr’s challenge to Bryan Danielson, so it sounds like that will be happening.
We got started with joint manipulation, Mox working the arm, Dante twisting his way out, and repeat. Transitioning into a headlock, Moxley ran right through Dante after being sent into the ropes, leading to a go behind, headlock, takedown sequence as the pace slowed, setting things up nicely for Dante to explode with a hurracanrana, stiff kicks, a shotgun dropkick and a fake-out springboard after the vet had bailed to the outside.
Back in the ring, Mox challenged Dante to chop him, and after three had no effect, decked the youngster, following up with more chops in the corner and then introducing him to the buckle on the opposite side.
Groundwork greeted us as returned, a Texas clover leaf transitioning into a Regal stretch, culminating in a Regal knee as the first pin of the match brought a 2 for the dominant Moxley. A leaping hurracanrana with Mox atop the buckle followed, the vet returned fire with an underhook suplex from upstairs.
After Mox missed a sliding lariat, Martin took advantage with a kick to the head, a springboard dive to the outside and a cross body from the top back inside for dos.
Mox avoided a Nose Dive, clamping on a Bulldog Choke, but Dante fought out, propelling his way up the buckle with his feet to break the hold, striking with an avalanche sliced bread for another two count as the commentators continually put over how close the youngster was getting.
After exchanging kicks and strikes, Martin avoided the Paradigm Shift but was dropped by a cutter, then countered a king kong lariat attempt into a sunset flip for an exceptionally close count, only to turn around into a huge lariat. Hammer and anvil elbows followed, before the body capture hammerlock led the number one contender to victory.
So, the story here was that Dante Martin’s tired of being labelled as someone with ‘potential’. When Dante gave Kenny Omega a scare last year it was fresh and exciting.
Now, he needs to show growth. Fans need to see him win on TV. If he’s really a potential superstar, he should beat most of his opponents but come up short against the very best. And then slowly start to win even those.
Nonetheless, a fantastic match which seemed to be given a bit more time than the average Rampage opener.
Tony was joined by Swerve and Keith Lee, the latter threatening to ‘Dismantle, no, beat yo’ ass’ after being eliminated by Strickland in last week’s battle royal. While Swerve protested that last week was singles, not tag. Lee seemed unconvinced but before it could be resolved they were interrupted by Hobbs & Starks who reminded the pair they’ve never beaten them.
H.O.B./Death Triangle video package hyping Malakai vs Penta next week.
Gunn Club & Max Caster vs Leon Ruff & Bear Country
The Acclaimed Club have been wildly entertaining so far (the vid at the PPV being a highlight) and were certainly very over in St Louis, with several dudes in the crowd ‘scissoring’.
Short one: they dominated Ruff with Bear Country on the outside and Caster came off the top for the W.
WINNER: Gunn Club & Castor
Lexi was with Hook, who’ll be facing someone from the NJPW dojo next week. After Hook wouldn’t answer anything, Danhausen took over, saying that ‘we’ are excited about ‘our’ match, until Hook cut him off with an ‘I got this’.
Jade Cargill vs Willow Nightingale
Backstory: Willow interrupted Stokely Hathaway on Weds to challenge Jade
Willow showed more character and personality in 2 minutes on Wednesday than the majority of the female roster have all year.
Stokely Hathaway joined on comms. Jade got Sports Entertainer otw, causing Stokely to enquire whether Jericho wanted to be a baddie.
Kicking off, almost literally, with stomps and strikes in the corner, Jade then missed a pump kick, was hit with an enziguri, caught Willow on her shoulders and proceeded to get a few squats in, avoided a pounce and then hit a pump kick in a rapid sequence squeezed in before the ads arrived.
Jade kicked out of a roll-up at 2 as we returned and Willow hit a cannonball senton for a follow-up 2. Recovering quickly, the champ hit a pedigree (they didn’t call it that) and then Jaded, 1, 2, 3.
Which brought Kiera Hogan in to continue the beating, but she was quickly interrupted by Athena and drilled with the O Face (formerly the Eclipse), allowing Jade to take advantage until Kris Statlander made the save.
Jay Lethal et al. cut a promo calling out Joe and hyping Satnav, who proclaimed ‘We’re just getting started’ in his best Chocolate Rain voice.
- Malakai vs Penta, All-Atlantic Qual (even the TBS voiceover called it Mid Atlantic, whoops)
- Ospreay & Aussie Open vs Orange Cassidy, Trent & Rocky Romero
- Mox & Tanahashi VS Jericho & Lance Archer
Darby Allin vs Bobby Fish
Backstory: reDRagon injured Sting; O’Reilly beat Darby at D.O.N.
Striking from behind, Fish laid in shots in the corner, hit a dragon-screw leg whip and then rammed Darby back-first into the ring apron. A crazy sequence followed where every other move brought the pair back in or out of the ring: a pescado from Darby, tilt-a-whirl backbreaker from Fish, Darby replied with a suicide dive which came perilously close to hitting a fan. Finally, things slowed with a pair of dragon screws on the outside as the final break came.
Both guys were down in the middle as we returned, fighting their way up. Darby struck with a code red for 2 and after selling his leg landed a Coffin Drop from the top to the outside where a standing Fish had retreated.
Attempting to return inside, Fish threw himself at Allin, leading to both crashing back outside where Darby was hurled into the steps. Boy he really takes a beating. Continuing the assault, Fish worked the knees and the spine before transitioning to an ankle lock and a German on the apron, from where Darby crashed back to the floor. Boy he really takes a beating.
Returning to the ring, Fish transitioned from a superplex into an avalanche falcon arrow for a close count, immediately slapping on an ankle lock after the kickout, which Allin converted (see what I did there?) into the Last Supper to steal the win from a dominant Fish.
Some really cool moves, and a hard-hitting match that both guys will be feeling over the weekend but not on a par with the opener, which felt more coherent.
Post-match, the winner of last week’s prestigious battle royal came out to double-team Darby.
Even-ing the odds, it’d be nice to believe that even backstage Schiavone still did the ‘IT’S STIIIIIING’ thing as the Icon returned, fighting off Fish and O’Reilly – the latter taking a baseball bat to his babymaker – leading to Allin wrapping Fish’s leg in a chair and nailing it with a Coffin Drop, fulfilling his pre-match vow to break Fish’s leg.
Maybe Allin was asked for his honest opinion of last week’s Dynamite, but it’s strange how much trouble a star the company’s protected for three years has had with a workhorse tag-team. Clearly, the higher ups see big things in reDRagon.
Tony Khan knows the basketball was Thursday right? Because this was a running scared line-up, a barely better than Dark line-up. After Wednesday’s rating plummeted, it’ll be interesting to see how this one does. Some really good action though.
- Mox vs Dante
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!