Arena: Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall
City: New Jersey
Last Week’s Rating: 378,000 overall; 0.12 in 18-49 demo
Coming off a poor Dynamite, it’s Friday Night, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!
The show kicked off with Mike Tyson’s entrance. Be interesting to see how long he stays on comms. and whether there’s any sort of angle.
Orange Cassidy vs Katsuyori Shibata, All-Atlantic Title
Backstory: Shibata saved Cassidy from an attack at Forbidden Door, showed up again Wednesday to claim this match
So apparently this one came about because Shibata legitimately requested two AEW opponents. One is obviously Cassidy; the other? Bryan Danielson.
It’s also worth noting that despite an Excalibur voiceover stating that he’d overcome his injuries, New Japan will not clear Shibata to wrestle, allowing him precisely one match in the 5 ½ years since collapsing after injuring his head and brain in a match against Kazuchika Okada.
Meaning this one is questionable in a number of ways. Primarily for reasons of health but also the likelihood of him losing only his second match in half a decade on two days’ notice.
Shibata wasted no time, right into a headlock, Cassidy’s hands still in his pockets, takedown, Cassidy viced the head, Shibata cartwheeled out. Then was sent to the apron and the outside, where Orange launched a dive which didn’t quite land. The import then hauled him around ringside, introducing him to several of the ringside barricades before heading inside, breaking the count with his pose.
Back outside, caught up in an exchange of forearms, both were nearly counted out, just making it back in as the break beckoned.
Whatever else Mike Tyson is, he’s enthusiastic and some of his commentary’s actually good – pointing out who the better striker is etc.
Down in the corner as we returned, Shibata was struck with a running dropkick before Cassidy launched the kicks. Fighting his way up, Shibata dropped Orange with a heel trip. Before launching kicks of his own, though the last one had a little more sizzle on it than Cassidy’s tend to. Who responded by mimicking Shibata’s pose. After which the import paintbrushed him, forcing him to the corner, flurry of strikes, running dropkick, suplex, count of two.
‘I just don’t want Cassidy to get beat’ was Tyson’s input at this juncture.
After slipping out of a belly to back, the champ dropped Shibata with a backdrop driver, the import popping right back up, right back into a belly to belly, Cassidy again slipped out, both popping up to drop each other with shots to the mush. As Tyson chanted ‘Cassidy, Cassidy, Cassidy…’
Up first, Orange launched a pair of PKs. A third. No dice. Shibata right back up to hit an Orange Punch, into an abdominal stretch, transitioning into a flying octopus hold. Cassidy got the ropes. Then struck with a Stundog Millionaire, before losing the elbow pad. Shibata snatched him up for a dvd and was looking for another when Orange hit another sloppy-looking Stundog, then a flying headscissors, right into Beach Break. Shibata kicked out at 2.
Back to their feet, Cassidy setup the Orange Punch, landing it flush. Shibata barely budged as he paused to fix his jaw, Cassidy’s eyes wide as Shibata finally landed the belly to back, looking for the PK, Orange popped up for a second Orange Punch and the victory.
A post-match handshake saw the champion again place his sunglasses on Shibata, as he did at Forbidden Door.
He looked a little rusty at times, but you could see exactly why Shibata wanted to face Orange. You can work a match without having to do too much, which they largely did. Could’ve done without the backdrop driver but it was otherwise very safe.
WINNER: Orange Cassidy
Lexi Nair with Toni Storm. Eventually, Jamie Hayter’s going to have to take responsibility for her decisions, just like Toni’s going to be responsible for what she does to her at Full Gear. They should’ve at least had some confetti drop and stuff for the fact that someone got through an interview uninterrupted.
Then with Claudio, Danielson and Regal. Lexi’s question: ‘What exactly are your problems with Chris Jericho?’. Are you f****** kidding? They’ve been feuding for nine months! Claudio’s pronunciation of ‘Ian Riccaboni’ was wonderful. Which is what he draws the line at: the attacking of non-wrestlers. While for Danielson, ‘Rampage isn’t long enough’ (agree to disagree) for why he hates Jericho. Begging for one more match, he promised to defeat Jericho and stomp his head in.
Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter vs Skye Blue & Madison Rayne
Backstory: Britt & Jamie wanted to wrestle, not talk
Tyson left after the first match. No angle. Clearly just to help the very poor local ticket sales.
Commentators openly wondered what Hayter’s title shot would do to the relationship between she and Britt as the babyfaces were quickly on top, Blue avoiding a shot in the corner, off the top with a diving cross body until Hayter dropped her throat-first across the ropes.
A thrust kick from Blue brought brief respite as Baker came in, a very slow looking ‘roundhouse’ allowed the tag to Rayne, who got a quick two on Britt. A cutter brought Hayter in to drop Rayne across the knee. Swinging neckbreaker from Baker broken up at two by Blue.
Crowd deceased at this point.
Double thrustkicks from the heels knocked Blue off the apron. Rayne fought off both until being blasted with the Ripcord Lariat for the win. The difference between the dainty lariat Rayne attempted and the one she was hit with for the win is the difference between good and bad women’s wrestling.
Post-match, Britt provoked Storm, who beelined to the ring, laying out Rebel and Baker before brawling wildly with Hayter, locking her in a cloverleaf, Hayter tapping furiously until Britt blasted Storm with the belt, ending by handing it to Jamie.
That brawl was good enough you could’ve ended with it. And should’ve.
WINNER: Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter
Footage aired from Dynamite of Jericho threatening to ‘whip Lamar Jackson’s ass’. And Jackson’s response, which was basically that it was fun. Jericho – with Schiavone & Sammy Guevara – thought about offering to face both Danielson and Claudio, because he didn’t believe they really liked each other. But thought that’d be unfair. So he’s going to include Sammy because after they take out the faces, Guevara will ‘do the right thing, right lil buddy?’
Hasn’t Sammy just joined the JAS?
Ricky Starks promo
Starks acknowledged that the crowd organically liked him and were asking where he’d been. He’s entering himself in the Eliminator Tournament. ‘Things are crumbling around here… I’m the guy who’s gonna hold things up!’ Vowed to end the tournament as the new number one contender. Short, good without being his best work. This crowd is clearly really small since they seemed to be behind Ricky and it was still hard to hear them.
Sammy back with Tony. Claimed he took Danielson to the limit a couple weeks back. So he wants a rematch on Dynamite. Two out of three falls. Or in layman’s terms – let a guy get one pinfall over Danielson before eventually losing. No-one can accuse the vet of being selfish, that’s for sure.
WarJoe vs the Gates of Agony
Backstory: The Embassy beatdown WarJoe last Friday
A struggling ‘Wardlow’ chant quickly died out among an ice-cold crowd as he and Bishop Khan went at it. Tag to Joe, who flung a downed Khan across for the tag to Toa Leona. Who’s enormous.
Snapping jabs backed the big guy to the corner, Joe finally waking the crowd with a great flurry. Running shoulder, turn around into the enziguri, Joe well on top until being distracted and bitten by Leona.
It seems Wardlow is either turning or is ‘rattled’ by Will Hobbs. He interrupted Joe during the pre-match promo and the commentators kept mentioning his demeanor during the match.
Returning to just a couple minutes tv time, Joe was fighting to his feet as the fans chanted his name, snatching and drilling Khan in an STO out of the corner. Finally allowing the tag.
Wardlow launched a series of German suplexes, using momentum off the ropes to drop the bigger Leona. Spinebuster to Khan for two, Leona with the save but dragged out into the Kokina Clutch, leaving Wardlow to be distracted by Nana, rolled up for two but then land a headbutt, into powerbomb number one. Three more and we had our winner.
This match really highlighted the damage done to Wardlow. Joe was way more popular with the crowd, who only really cared for Wardlow’s finish.
Will Hobbs hit the ramp post-match, Wardlow barged Joe out of the way to jaw at him. That’s four concurrent infighting storylines (SioG, BCC, Sammy/Jericho & these two).
- Swerve in our Glory & the Gunn Club vs FTR & the Acclaimed
- Sammy Guevara vs Bryan Danielson, Two out of three falls
- Eddie Kingston vs Ethan Page, Eliminator 1st Round
- Moxley to speak
- Britt Baker & Saraya face to face w Schiavone
- Jamie Hayter vs Skye Blue
- Bandido vs Rush, Eliminator 1st Round (now that’s something to tune in for)
- Lance Archer vs Ricky Starks, ‘’
- Brian Cage vs Dante Martin, ‘’
Added to Full Gear:
- Chris Jericho vs Sammy Guevara vs Bryan Danielson vs Claudio Castagnoli, ROH Title
Maybe it’s because expectations are so low at this point. But this was a perfectly watchable hour of tv. There wasn’t anything spectacular, and a dead crowd didn’t help. But, reservations aside, it was interesting seeing Shibata, Tyson on commentary was at least a change of pace, and three matches instead of four, allowing a brief in-ring promo segment, seems the way to go heading forward. Plus, all three of next week’s announced matches have some stakes.
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!