Arena: The Schottenstein Center
City: Columbus, Ohio
Finally the AEW game’s available for pre-order (at least in the US). Curious to see what it’s like after such a long wait. Though still a bit dubious of the December 31st release date, seems a bit fishy.
But enough of that.
It’s Wednesday night, it’s Dynamite. Let’s go.
Orange Cassidy vs Jay Lethal
Backstory: Cassidy beat Lethal etc., pinning Sonjay Dutt in a six-man Friday & was attacked after
Excalibur, Taz & Tony Schiavone on comms. They’ve definitely done away with the ‘you know what that means’ tagline.
Loud ‘freshly squeezed’ chants kicked us off, Orange in control with a headlock and a series of armdrags before stopping dead as Lethal tried to respond, the latter hitting the mat to a loud pop. Quick sequence of his patented duck-unders/dive-overs culminated in a tope suicida, Jay crawling up the ramp being ‘drilled’ with Orange-kicks. The crowd loves them some Cassidy.
Distracted by Satnam Singh, who was banned from ringside but not the top of the ramp, this brought out the Best Friends, 90s-sitcom-style, Trent on Chuck’s shoulders with a long trenchcoat. Trentcoat?
Returning Lethal to the ring, Cassidy struck with a diving cross body but Lethal hooked a dragon screw and began working the leg against the steps on the outside.
An avalanche dragon-screw led into the figure 4 as we returned, Orange quickly rolling to the ropes to another crowd ovation. Dragged back in from the apron via superplex, Cassidy flipped it into a Stundog Millionaire, Lethal responded with a Lethal Combination as Cassidy went for the swinging ddt.
The diving elbow was next. Or would’ve been. Cassidy rolled away, Jay pursued, chops in the corner leading to strikes from Cassidy and a diving ddt from the top, a swinging ddt, a two count, and the lining up of the Orange Punch. Leg buckling, a smarmy Lethal stalked Cassidy but nearly paid for it after a beach break, Jay avoided another OP, a third, kick to the knee, Lethal Injection.
Kept waiting for Orange to kick out. He didn’t. This was a clean win for Jay over one of the most popular guys in the company, a guy who twice defeated Chris Jericho. And here I was thinking Lethal’s been getting way too much tv time when guys like Miro and Malakai can’t even sniff it.
Though the reason why became obvious next, as Dutt took to the mic: Lethal was being ‘built’ for Wardlow. This better be leading to Singh eating a powerbomb, or is yet another waste of Wardlow’s time. Match set for Battle of the Belts III, Saturday. Almost no reaction from the crowd, though they did get to chanting ‘Wardloooow’ and popped for the big guy. Though not as loudly as Cassidy, it’s worth noting.
WINNER: Jay Lethal
Brief Hook recap vid. To give Exclalibur his props, ‘El Guapo Diablo’ is worlds better than ‘Cold-hearted handsome devil’.
‘You know it’s all about the…’ Undisputed Elite returning. Cole referred to himself as the leader: ‘loyalty is everything, which brings me to this trios tournament’. With himself & Kyle still not cleared, he told the Bucks that if they weren’t picking Bobby, they weren’t allowed to do the tournament. ‘Sorry, what I meant to say, is you guys won’t be physically capable of doing the tournament.’ Cue: Bucks beatdown. Readying the chair ‘round the throat, Hangman’s music hit to LOUD ‘cowboy s***’ chants. Tony called Cole and co. ‘termites’ as they fled. Offering a hand, Page helped Matt to his feet, then abruptly left.
Moxley promo. Fantastic as usual. Discussed a variety of horrendous ways to hurt people. Doesn’t care who wins, friend or foe. ‘When they show up next week, they’d better be ready.’ Not sure this justifies promoting a Mox segment however.
Footage aired of Jungle Boy – who ‘wasn’t supposed to be here’, trying to attack Christian earlier.
ThunderStorm vs Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter
Backstory: Both faces have had prbs w Britt, who’s trying to sew discord
Rosa was rocking a ‘sandbagging’ tee, about as insider as it gets. She and the Dr. began to the tune of dueling chants, Britt immediately looking for the Lockjaw, Rosa escaping into a backdrop, Britt heading for Hayter, also drilled by Rosa as she entered, eating a pair of leaping dropkicks while draped across the ropes.
Quick tags kept Jamie in the good girls’ corner, Hardy-style combo offense culminating in a double suplex for a count of two before a dead crowd. Distracted by Baker, the heels took over, drilling Rosa in the corner and keeping her there as the ads arrived.
Still stuck as we returned, Rosa struck with a stunner to Hayter as Storm came in with a diving cross body off the top, then another, before an awkward-looking waterwheel drop and a tag back to Rosa. Preparing another double suplex, Hayter instead suplexed both faces, to a loud cheer, bringing Britt back in as Rebel distracted Storm, leading to an avalanche air-raid crash and a curb stomp for an ultra-close 2.
A melee followed with all four girls laid out on the mat, briefly waking the crowd to the obligatory ‘this is awesome’ chant as ThunderStorm struck with synchronized Germans, Toni following up with a flurry of brutal-looking hip attacks until Britt pulled Rosa in the way of the last one, allowing Hayter to hit a lariat for the 1,2,3 as the heels – far more over than the faces – celebrated.
Had its moments.
WINNER: Jamie Hayter & Britt Baker
If I didn’t already love Eddie Kingston… The Mad King thankfully, mercifully cutting short an ostensibly faux-awful but in reality just awful Sammy/Tay engagement video. In his usual original, ultra-intense style, revealing that there’s a contract coming Sammy’s way to face him at the ppv. ‘Sign it!’
Will Hobbs vs Ren Jones
Backstory: Hobbs turned on Ricky Starks last week
Taz permanently shut-down Team Taz as Hobbs made his entrance. To new music, similar to the old but not as good. The big fella gets better every time we see him. Size, physique, presence, mic skills, ring skills… dude has it all.
This one ended quickly, Hobbs talking trash about Ricky Starks as he went about it, bringing Starks running to the ring as the post-match bell sounded. A heated brawl before a heated crowd ensued, Starks eating a Spinebuster after the ref got in the way. The most heated heel/face dynamic all night. Easily.
WINNER: Will Hobbs
Miro video. Wondered whether his God had sent the ‘messenger’ (Malakai), ‘in the end, everyone reveals themselves.’
Then Darby. Revealed that he’d brought Brody to the company, asking Tony Khan to hire him, while supposedly tattooing his hand with ‘the coffin shuts on Brody King.’ Must’ve been handy for Malakai that Brody King just turned up one day. ‘Brody, whatever are you doing here? Fancy a coffee?’, ‘Love one Mr Black, how’s that faction going?’ ‘Funny you should ask…’
Christian vs Matt Hardy
Backstory: Hardy defended Jungle Boy, attacked by Luchasaurus (mks no sense if LS is babyface, so presumably he’s not) at Christian’s behest
Jim Ross joined on comms, unable to resist the allure of a match which peaked a quarter of a century ago. It’s the clash of the immovable objects. As in, they won’t move from our tv screens. Christian at least is still good between the ropes.
Ducking out as Hardy arrived, Christian made Hardy pursue him; it didn’t work until Cage caught Matt with an uppercut as he attacked in the corner. Christian took a nasty bump from the top onto the apron as it spilled outside and we were reminded that this isn’t even their first meeting in AEW.
‘Delete’ face-plants into the corner briefly woke the crowd as JR interrupted that ‘we just need a Dudley as a referee.’ No. We. Do. Not. Please.
Dumping Hardy into the ring steps, Cage followed with a running knee, meaning the break beckoned.
Welcoming us back with a superplex, Matt crawled to a two-count, both fighting their way up off their knees, back body drop from Hardy, ‘10’ punches in the corner, diving elbow smash from the middle rope, ‘delete delete delete’, Christian countered with a pendulum kick but was flung from the top with another back body drop, Hardy following with a diving elbow drop for another two.
Countering out of the Killswitch, Matt was dropped neck-first across the ropes as Christian landed a diving headbutt from the top but was then hit with the Side Effect for another close 2. And another followed on the apron.
Here things took a turn though, Hardy looking for a diving elbow with Christian laid across a table, but Cage moved, dragged Matt back inside, Killswitch, victory. Not gonna ‘delete’ what I wrote earlier. Accountability and all that. This was a very enjoyable match. Christian took some crazy bumps – the diving headbutt in particular needs to go – and clearly both vets have a lot of pride and wanted to put on a show. They did.
About to go to work with a chair, Cage fled as Jungle Boy, who’d ‘bought a ticket’, hit the ring.
Daniel Garcia promo. Called himself ‘the Dragon Slayer’, promised to slay Danielson again when he returns.
Another of those Pac title defences. They finally referred to the front-row-guy-with-the-bag-over-his-head as Kip Sabian (hell of a way to pay off months of ‘build’), so it looks like that’s where the Bastard is heading next.
All Ego was in the ring.
‘Why?’ ‘Why?’ ‘Why?’ ‘Why is Ethan Page not on TV? Ethan Page deserves better.’ This drew cheers until Page heeled on the crowd. Stokely Hathaway, waiting patiently for the rant to finish, whispered in Ethan’s ear then offered a business card, Page kept it, leaving with Hathaway.
Anna Jay & that tag team who’re in the JAS (genuinely can’t remember their names) promo promoting the main event and next week’s AEW title match. Not into much of this Sports Entertainment ‘banter’, but legit LOL’d at ‘AEW Galaxy’. That was funny. It closed with Anna ‘snapping’ again, choking out a cameraman with her legs wrapped around as JR wisecracked ‘what a way to go’ and Taz laughed.
Acclaimed vs Gunn Club, Dumpster Match
Backstory: Shrt version: they were all teaming ‘til Gunn Club turned on the Acclaimed
This might just be the first dumpster match since ‘Mania 14, and the first serious outing for Billy Gunn’s Boys.
Cutting-in as the Ass Boys were making their entrance, the Acclaimed laid out Daddy Ass then his seedlings with a trash can. Cue the music: ‘No filter, I ain’t Instagram, we make the Ass Boys retire like Vince McMahon’.
‘J.R. I’ve never called a dumpster match before, do they typically start with raps?’ quipped Excalibur.
Fighting on the ramp, Bowens suplexed both Boys, ate a boot from Colton and a double-team powerbomb into the dumpster. Caster followed. But the lid wasn’t shut. And it needs to be.
Double-teaming Caster on the stage when we returned, Bowens intervened but was drilled with a Colt 45. That looked sore. With Bowens draped over a table, Austin climbed the entrance tunnel but Bowens moved, Caster sneaking up behind, flinging Austin off the top into a dumpster very clearly filled with polystyrene (not complaining, just noting), then landing a huge Mic Drop elbow off the tunnel, through Colton, and that very same table.
Into the dumpster he went, lid shut, game over.
Copying what led to the original dumpster match, they then flung the Ass-Boys-filled dumpster off the stage. Unlike in ’98, we immediately moved on. Guess they’re fine.
There wasn’t much to this, we didn’t see much of what there was, but it had the right result.
With the fans solidly behind them, the Acclaimed are poised for the proverbial ‘push’. Assuming they can dislodge heavyweights such as Tony Nese and Mark Sterling from the title picture.
On the subject, Nese and Josh Woods (still have no idea who he is and they haven’t explained) will face the champs on Rampage. Footage of Mance Warner (ditto) winning at Ric Flair’s Last Match aired, he’ll face Mox on Rampage. Recent signee Madison Rayne will debut.
Jericho vs Yuta, Winner gets title shot next week
Backstory: Yuta manipulated Jericho into putting his shot on the line in a fantastic segment Friday
Jericho came with backing, so Claudio’s music kicked in just before we kicked off. Leaving he and ‘Daddy Magic’ or whatever at ringside.
Flying out the blocks, trash talking quickly led to a flick to Jericho’s broken nose, a double leg and punches and chops in the corner until Jericho bailed. Yuta in hot pursuit, they brawled around ringside. More accurately, Yuta kicked Jericho’s ass around ringside, hurling him back in just as Jericho’s flunkies grabbed his boot, leading to their dismissal.
Taking advantage, Jericho crotched the youngster on the ropes. And we all know what the heel taking over means. Break time.
Still in control as we returned, Jericho had the youngster down in the middle but after whipping him in, ate a boot to the face, a Manhattan drop and a step-up enziguri, followed up by a very nice clothesline/bulldog-looking move from the top, kipping up to roars from the crowd, until the two collided in mid-air looking for cross-bodies.
Yay/Boo palmstrikes brought them back to their feet, Yuta locking his hands to deliver a flood of German suplexes, not stopping until the veteran countered-out, locking in the Walls of Jericho slap-bang in the middle. After Yuta made the crawl to the ropes, Jericho bickered with Aubrey and was elevated over the top to the outside. Tres tope suicida followed and a diving cross body led to a count of two.
Caught rebounding off the ropes, Yuta ate a double underhook backbreaker and a clothesline but got the knees up on a Lionsault. Countering back, Jericho turned a leap from the top into the Codebreaker for a two of his own. Then tried to rub salt with hammer and anvil elbows but Yuta again targeted the broken nose to escape, locking in the Regal Stretch as Jericho desperately grasped at Floyd. Though Aubrey was a step ahead, snatching the bat away.
Or was she? The vet using the distraction to land more-bang-to-your-balls, lining up the Judas Effect only for Yuta to duck, countering into a seatbelt pin for a two which no-one really bought, Jericho rolling out into the Lion Tamer for the tap and the loudly-cheered win.
This was good but never felt as intense as the two excellent matches we saw last week. Definitely hurt by the fact that it was too obvious who’d be facing Moxley next week. Otherwise, following last week’s upset, the crowd might’ve been more into it.
Post-match, Le Champion refused to relinquish the hold, wrenching-back deeper. You know what’s coming. Wild Thing blared and Jericho bailed. Grabbing the mic, Jericho, the last survivor of the Dungeon, vowed to ‘stretch the sh**’ out of Mox next week.
Next Rampage (live):
• Mox vs Mance Warner
• Swerve in our Glory vs Tony Nese & Josh Woods, Street Fight
• Madison Rayne debut
Battle of the Belts:
• Claudio vs Takeshita, ROH title
• Wardlow vs Jay Lethal, TNT title
• Rosa vs Hayter, AEW Women’s title
• Jericho vs Mox, AEW Title
• Brody King vs Darby Allin, Coffin Match
• Lucha Bros vs Rush & Andrade, Tornado Tag
• Jade Cargill open challenge for TBS title
Pretty meh. There was some enjoyable wrestling, though nothing to blow you away. Mox’s promo was excellent but they nearly always are. You could’ve easily skipped this, tuned in next week and not been the worse for it. And with the momentum shifting, that isn’t good enough.
Thanks for reading.