Arena: Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena
City: Baltimore, Maryland
It’s Saturday morning, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!
BRITT BAKER & JAMIE HAYTER (w Rebel) vs TONI STORM & RUBY SOHO
Backstory: Lots of squabbling backstage; Toni & Jamie will meet in 1st round of OH Tourn
Finally, the match we’ve been waiting for. Why, you ask? NO MORE OF THOSE INTERMINABLE BACKSTAGE FOUR-WAY INTERVIEWS! Please?
So this one got going to the soundtrack of ‘Pittsburgh sucks!’, Hayter proving too big for Toni to dislodge until she finally took her off her feet before a quick tag to Ruby. Britt showing otherwise, she tagged in, unloading on Ruby before unleashing a slingblade, still one of the coolest moves in wrestling. Sunset-flipping out of an air-raid crash, Soho nearly won it early. Storm and Soho then double-teamed Baker.
In response, Britt introduced Toni to the middle buckle as the ads arrived.
Jamie Hayter was well on top upon our return, dominating Storm until a double tag led to Ruby running wild on Britt, then knocking Hayter off the apron. Blind-tagging her way back in, the self-proclaimed ‘best ass’ struck with a hip attack in the corner but was blindsided by a big boot from Jamie.
Attempting a Pittsburgh Sunrise, Baker was cut-off by Soho, who was taken out by Hayter, who was taken out by Storm, leaving just the Doctor and the New Girl.
With a Storm Zero on the horizon, Britt countered into an air raid crash. Returning the favor, Toni countered the Lock Jaw, afterwards striking with a German and then looking for a superplex until she was distracted by Rebel.
Allowing Baker to strike: a last-second save from Soho preventing Baker’s victory after a Curb Stomp. With all four in the ring, Toni took advantage, rolling-up DMD for a rare loss.
Seems we’re heading for a Storm/Baker final in the Owen? This one was all-action, a little uncertain in places, but did a nice job highlighting Toni’s struggles with Jamie ahead of next week’s tournament opener.
WINNER: Soho & Storm
Calling in to the commentary booth, Eddie Kingston said his wife, who’s used to seeing him hurt, was ‘broken’ by the sight of his face, her reaction will be ‘burned in his soul’ for the rest of his life and led to a promise to hurt Jericho ‘really bad’. As with every time Eddie opens his mouth, this was excellent. This felt real. A long step from the usual Jericho and the Jobbers shenanigans.
Tony Nese and Smart Mark challenged Danhausen.
HOOK vs JD DRAKE
Backstory: Backdrop to the Hook/Danhausen story
Get the smelling salts, this one didn’t last long. Countering a second chop from Drake after essentially ignoring the first, Hook suplexed JD before posing for his adoring public, then locked on the Redrum for the tap.
Attempting to bribe Hook with chips, Danhausen graciously requested his presence in his corner for next week’s contest with Nese. Hook shoved him and left.
Loud ‘Hookhausen’ chants again this week, but we all know the real money’s in teaming ‘Captain’ Shawn Dean and Hook.
Dax vowed to return to his ‘nasty bastard’ roots next week against Adam Cole. Very honest, believable promo. Good work from Harwood.
RIHO vs YUKA SAKAZAKI, OWEN HART QUALIFIER
Backstory: OH Qualifier
Flying out of the blocks at warp speed, these two exchanged holds on the mat before graduating to arm-drags, counters, pin attempts; culminating with Riho Matrix-ing up out of the way as Yuka went for a short splash. Before a roaring crowd, Riho struck with a shotgun dropkick, a knee in the corner and a top-rope cross body for 2. ‘Riho, Riho, Riho!’ Notably, she was in all-black, which being notable was noted by Excalibur. Though she was still very much the smiley good-girl.
Fighting back, Sakazaki dropkicked her through the ropes, before taking to the air for a cannonball senton to the outside.
Ads time. (Jericho noted that Riho’s head got stuck in Yuka’s ‘genie pants’; Starks – ‘been there’.)
Back, Yuka struck with a northern lights bomb for a close 2, following up with the Magical Girl Splash but Riho got the knees up before unleashing a Violent (capital needed) dragon suplex. Rolling back and forth with two-counts, Sakazaki just got the ropes to prevent the pin. From the top, Yuka planted Riho with a top-rope front-Russian-leg-sweep for another close call.
Exchanging forearms, Riho ducked, slipping Sakazaki into a very cool inside roll-up via the legs to advance to the tournament. My fingers hurt. Fantastic. It’s been a long time since a crowd were this into the ladies in AEW.
Owen Hart Women’s Brackets:
Side 1 – Toni Storm v. Jamie Hayter ; Britt Baker v. JOKER
Side 2 – Riho v. Ruby Soho ; Red Velvet v. Hikaru Shida
See, told you it’d be a Baker/Storm final. Maybe Toni vs Ruby? Riho?
The next-gen Jeff Jarrett took more shots at ‘Warpig’, calling him a giant but revealing a chair saying ‘GIANT KILLER’. No, it didn’t say ‘INTEREST’ – but it should have.
Dan Lambert, Ethan Page and the new TNT champ were busy in the next segment. Lambert totally heeling on the crowd; Page running down Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti but saying the mixed-tag was off; Sky saying he wanted to bring the belt back its prestige, so Lambert would have to retire his spare to the ATT trophy case ‘where it was supposed to be all-along’, and then granting Frankie Kazarian his shot next week after the latter came out.
Just as Excalibur was announcing next week’s action, Jungle Boy came for Ricky Starks, who ran away, leaving Jungle Jack and the FTW title, which Jack hoisted up.
- Jungle Boy v. Ricky Starks, FTW Title.
- Punk v. John Silver
- Jericho Appreciation Society Victory Speech
- Storm v. Hayter, Round One, O.H. Cup
- Hardy v. Allin, Round One, O.H. Cup
- Dax v. Adam Cole, Round One, O.H. Cup
- Wardlow/MJF contract signing
- Scorpio Sky v. Frankie Kazarian, TNT Title.
- Riho v. Ruby, Round One, O.H. Cup
KONOSUKE TAKESHITA vs JAY LETHAL (w Satnav Singh & Sonjay Dutt)
Backstory: Takeshita’s TV debut; Joe has promised he’s coming for Lethal
If any of you play the Yakuza games, they’ve made a bit of a gag out of the Takeshita surname, for obvious reasons. Here, the ring announcer was very careful to pronounce ‘Takesh-ita’ the Japanese way.
‘Lethal’ chants as we kicked off, down on the mat, exchanging holds targeting the arms before Lethal took the youngster down. Takeshita exploded with arm-drags and a leg lariat, the pair exchanging strikes before yet another acrobatic explosion via a flipping lariat and a dive to the outside.
Where Singh sauntered over, causing the youngster to back-up, allowing Lethal to strike with a tope suicida, gaining the upper hand as we went to break.
An incredible lariat with both perched on the top buckle greeted us on our return. Crowd enjoyed that one. Following up with a sheer-drop brainbuster for two before countering the Lethal Injection and striking with his jumping knee finish. Only a two resulted due to Dutt taking the ref, Excalibur making clear that the import had it won.
Going for the quick win, Lethal rolled-up the newcomer for 2. Flung backwards as Takeshita kicked-out, the veteran took advantage, springing off the ropes for the match-ending Lethal Injection.
Post-match, Lethal & co. were interrupted from continuing the beating by the Best Friends and Orange Cassidy. Singh took out Trent and Chuck with a choke, so day two of training must’ve gone badly. (All jokes aside, I do sympathize with AEW’s position here, but boy does he suck).
‘Joe! Joe! Joe!’
Making good on his promise, Samoa Joe came down, pipe in hand, but was blocked by referees and security.
This one flew by, so fast-moving that it was tough taking notes. Takeshita looked very good here: athletic, explosive, hard-hitting.
WINNER: Jay Lethal
Credit where it’s due. After the Dynamite main event, it seemed you’d need Paul Bearer and an urn to wake this crowd. But they were hot for the whole hour, a very good hour, of TV.
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!