Arena: Save Mart Center
City: Fresno, CA
Last Week’s Rating: 513,000 overall; 0.13 in 18-49 demo
It’s Friday Night, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!
Ethan Page vs Jungle Boy Jack Perry
Backstory: The Firm – mostly Big Bill – have been attacking JB, he and Hook beat them in a tag last week, Page wants revenge
So I finally realized what Ethan Page was talking about on Wednesday. But had completely forgotten he was part of ‘the Firm’ and that they were feuding with Perry. Mostly since they were a faction who only got together when MJF needed them. Who now has nothing to do with them and yet here they are.
Page was already in the ring, Jungle Boy got his entrance. As Jericho noted how much he hates crowds singing along to entrance themes. Do enjoy a hypocritical heel.
Page attacked before the entrance was even over, hooking the youngster in the Ego’s Edge as he posed on the top rope. Perry slipped out, striking quickly in the corner then sending Page outside via flying headscissors. Page pulled Isiah Cassidy into the path of a JB tope – he and Matt Hardy were at ringside – then took advantage with a clothesline.
After slinging him back inside, Page stopped to jaw with Hardy and this time Perry’s tope was right on target.
Thus far this is very similar to Wednesday’s opener: a ton of bodies around ringside which seem to have taken precedence over the in-ring.
Hardy made it very clear he wasn’t going to attack Jungle Boy, who continued in the ascendancy until Hathaway grabbed the boot. JB stared at him for several years, allowing Ethan to attack then over-elaborately celebrate with Hardy. ‘That’s my guy!’
Dropping Perry face-first against the apron, Page returned to the ring, hit a backbreaker and began to work on the shoulder before clotheslining the youngster over the top. From his knees, Perry fought back with crisp strikes and chops; Page responded by slinging him into the ringpost then dropping him with a stiff chop.
Crowd very quiet as Page shouted into the camera with total intensity – ‘You wanna slap tits? I’ll slap tits’. Jericho in particular enjoyed this line. Schiavone’s awkwardness playing-off Jericho was tremendous.
JB caught Page coming in with elbows to the face but was then grabbed mid cross-body; slipped out and rebounded with a big diving lariat. Attempting a piledriver, Page back bodied his way free, pursuing Perry to the top rope, hauling him off the top wrists-first into an iconoclasm, maintaining wrist control and dragging Perry straight back up off the mat into an off-the-shoulder powerslam. That sequence is impressive.
The crowd still very quiet when Page is on offense.
He mocked Hardy’s pose then looked for a Twist of Fate. Perry countered, the two grappled into the corner where JB fired off ten of the best, the last of which struck Hathaway (who’d come onto the apron), allowing Page to hit Hardy’s move and bag two: too close to the ropes.
He then sent Perry outside, demanding that Hardy ‘get him!’. Before we could find out if he would, Action Bronson blared over the speakers as Hook arrived. Page still took advantage of the distraction to get two, using Hardy’s hair as leverage. Jungle Boy reversed it into a roll-up to bag the win.
It was just developing into a really good match amid the ‘gaga’ when that happened.
Post-match, Hathaway shrieked that it was Hardy’s fault. Matt protested that he was Page’s friend; Page challenged the faces to a tag against him and Hardy so that the latter could ‘make it up to me’.
That’ll be on Dynamite.
The way they’ve been stop/start with using Ethan is a sure-fire way to ensure someone doesn’t succeed. He needs to regularly appear on tv. Not that he’s the only one.
WINNER: Jack Perry
Ortiz joined Schiavone in the ring. Ortiz said Kingston had ‘lost it’ and was buying the House of Black’s mind-games. He was annoyed because Eddie was about to hit a woman with a chair last week and ‘in our world, that’s a line you don’t cross.’ He then noted that he should be discussing this with Kingston instead of Schiavone, asking him to come out.
Kingston was irritated Ortiz had chosen to discuss this on tv instead of settling it off-camera. Ortiz said this was the only way to get his attention. Ortiz got on him again about ‘hitting a woman’.
(This’d work a lot better if it genuinely looked like Eddie was going to do that, instead of turning ‘round with a chair in hand and Julia being literally right behind him.)
Then noted that their trainer Homicide would be disappointed and calling Eddie a ‘fake tough guy’. Kingston attacked him with a chair to the gut then walked off. Can’t really says I blame him.
The announcers emphasized that the HOB had done this.
Couple notes: In a company full of people with two names, ‘Ortiz’ seems less important by comparison.
Do the several hundred-thousand people who watch Dynamite but not Rampage even know the House of Black are back? Or where Eddie Kingston is? They never appear on the ‘A’ show.
Darby Allin package talking about how he’s going to defend his TNT title every week, searching for the ‘high’ he felt when defeating Samoa Joe in his hometown. Now he has old scores to settle with the HOB. Wants to prove he can beat each and every member.
Well, guess that’s me told. Though if Allin’s just going to run through them all not sure what it does for them. Do like that at least this gives a storyline reason for the weekly title defences and can totally buy Darby chasing that ‘high’.
He and Joe have done a lot to rehab a belt which badly needed it.
Brian Cage vs Willie Mack
Surprisingly, Mack actually got an entrance. Cage looks and acts like a total star. If he could talk, he’d probably be champion.
This started with sloppy exchanges: the two big guys essentially performing a lucha routine with armdrags and kip-ups. Mack dropped Cage with a Samoan but caught nothing but mat on the subsequent standing moonsault.
Cage took advantage with a running boot to the face, step-up kick in the corner, German suplex then another running pump kick with Mack slumped against the buckle.
Before stopping to pose.
Ross offered to pay for Schiavone to get a haircut like Cage as the competitors exchanged strikes on the apron, ending when Cage drove Mack into it spine-first.
Mack bought time by rolling under a clothesline and striking with a pump kick as we returned from break.
Then hit a phenomenal running enziguri, almost a high shining wizard. Continuing the assault with a clothesline, he hooked Cage for a rock bottom, the Machine fought free with elbows to the temple but ate a pop-up punch to the face as he rebounded off the ropes. Mack got two via sky high. (Shoutout D-Lo Brown. Criminally underrated)
Both staggering to their feet, Cage hit a superkick, following up with an F-5 for two. Cage thought he’d won it.
Mack slipped free, missed a roundhouse, ate a powerbomb which Cage rolled him through right into a punt to the face then a Drillclaw to bag the win.
Pretty entertaining match. A little slow in places but some good sequences.
WINNER: Brian Cage
The Self-indulgent Minute was next as the announcers all talked about the Jacksonville Jaguars and their game tomorrow/today.
Jade Cargill & Leila Grey vs Jaida and Jordyn Vanity
Jade is not wrong. She and Leila look like total stars on their way to the ring.
After a couple minutes, Cargill hit Jaded to go to 49-0.
WINNER: Jade Cargill & Leila Grey
Action Andretti vs Daniel Garcia
Backstory: Andretti beat Jericho in a shock upset; embarrassed, the JAS have been attacking him ever since. Also, Garcia gets Sammy Guevara’s spot in next week’s tag if he wins here.
So it’s the guy from the JAS we’re seemingly supposed to sympathize with – again – versus the guy facing the JAS who we’re definitely supposed to sympathize with.
Garcia was wearing his new leather pants a la Jericho as Sammy joined on comms. Andretti seemed to get a decent response from the crowd as he came out. They were Silent for Garcia.
Who flew out the blocks, attacking before Andretti could remove his gear.
Action responded with a handspring elbow then threw his jacket into the crowd. Pursuing Garcia to the corner with stiff chops, he then dropped him via tejeiras and bagged a quick two count after a springboard tornillo.
Continuing his dominance, he sent Garcia packing to ringside after an enziguri then took flight with a suicide dive which isn’t quite at the Allin/Fenix level but certainly packed a punch.
Garcia wanted a timeout, avoided a baseball slide then struck with a clothesline at ringside. And you know what that means! Break time.
The pace of this match is noticeably different from the others tonight.
Andretti in trouble as we returned, on his knees, Garcia with wrist control, slapping the face with his boot as Action fired-up. To his feet, he shook off stiffer and stiffer boots to the jaw as Jericho and Guevara finally acknowledged the stip. if Garcia wins. The commentators have done a poor job lately emphasizing what’s at stake in matches.
Exploding with a leaping clothesline, then a running lariat, Andretti hit a neckbreaker and was firing up again, causing Garcia to bail outside with AA on the top rope. He hopped straight off the top to the apron then springboarded into a moonsault and just about made contact.
Before flinging his opponent back inside to eat a split-leg for two slaps of the mat.
Jericho was beginning to reluctantly acknowledge that Andretti had talent but growing more and more frustrated with Garcia’s inability to beat him.
Just as Action again sprung back off the ropes. This time, Garcia was ready, trapping him into a choke. Until Andretti got his shoulders up to leverage a two count, breaking the hold then striking with an enziguri. Garcia responded with another big boot, Andretti fired back with a thrust kick then hit a neckbreaker out of an F5 for nearly three.
Andretti Flair-flipped to the apron out of an Irish whip but Garcia again caught the incoming springboard attack, clocking him in the jaw as he landed then hitting a sit-out pumphandle for two. Getting more and more desperate he then hooked the trunks during a roll-up to get another two.
Andretti then caught him with a boot and launched a tornillo off the top which landed way short, right into his running shooting star to bag another win over the JAS.
There was nothing wrong with this, it was wrestled at a good pace but something was missing. It lacked intensity, feeling less like a feud and more like just a random match with no stakes. Though that might also have been impacted by the crowd who were quiet for most of the hour.
WINNER: Action Andretti
- Jungle Boy & Hook (JungleHook…) vs Matt Hardy & Ethan Page
- Darby Allin w/ Sting vs Buddy Matthews (Ok! if we’re revisiting the Malakai/Sting stuff, that might finally get the HOB some tv time)
- Toni Storm vs Ruby Soho vs Britt Baker
- Family Therapy w/ the Gunns & the Acclaimed
- Brian Cage vs Bryan Danielson
- Le Sex Gods vs Ricky Starks & Action Andretti
Rampage has been doing slightly better ratings lately. Mostly because stars like Moxley have been on the show. Be surprising if that continues with tonight’s lineup.
- This wasn’t a bad show, it was solid, but there’s nothing worth going out your way for
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!