Arena: Toyota Arena
City: Ontario, CA
The second we were reminded AEW had another PPV in a month, in Chicago, knew I’d screwed up the main event prediction. On the subject, really enjoyed that match. Yes, there were a couple botches but it was intense and gripping and kept you guessing. The only match to rival the phenomenal 6-man: that Fenix spot when he kicked out the leg to make Brody powerbomb Malakai, lost my mind. Overall, a pretty good show that was too long and sagged in the middle.
On MJF’s promo: very good but his Origin Story re: meeting Punk was better.
Last but not least, MIROOOO’s back!!!! He’s not just God’s favorite.
It’s Saturday morning, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!
Young Bucks vs Lucha Bros
Backstory: Feuded on & off over the years, incl. last summer’s caged classic
Much like when the Bucks faced FTR for the second time, this feels like it deserved more buildup. That said, hard to complain about watching these teams go at it once again.
Adam Cole joined on comms. Huge ‘AE-Dub’ chants, fired-up crowd. ‘Zero Miedo’/’Elite’ battle.
Off to a blazing start: Fear Factor attempts and counters, Penta went for the armbreaker but Matt snuck out, Penta kipped up, standoff. Crowd loving this one.
Double tags led to a light-speed interchange between Rey and Nick, both avoiding kicks before striking at the same time only for both to immediately kip back up. ‘AE-Dub!’…
Dives to the outside followed, a huge tope con hiro by Penta, Fenix following with a spectacular tornillo. ‘Holy s***’. Leading to Nick firing back, striking with a punt from the apron to Fenix and a hurracanrana onto Penta on the floor. If you like selling, this ain’t for you. If you look away, you miss something. Literally.
Back inside, Matt got the knees up, countering a Fenix splash as the ads arrived. Upon our return, the Hardys & Jurassic Express were out to watch.
Returning the same way we left, Fenix was countered and caught on a splash, leading to locomotion northern lights by matt, culminating with a double as Penta got involved. Tagging in, Nick entered in style, hitting a senton atomico for 2. Things turned when Fenix countered – in mid-air – a backdrop into a hurracanrana, the Bros exploding with a diving footstomp into a DDT for another close call, Rey then striking with the only through-the-ropes dive which rivals Darby Allin’s, following it up with a frog splash back inside after paying tribute to Mr Guerrero.
‘This is awesome!’…
A springboard dropkick from Nick with P on Fenix shoulders led to a gnarly landing for the Bros, a diving elbow from Matt bringing another extremely close 2. After Nick & Rey exchanged forearms, Fenix was whipped into the ropes but rebounded with his swing-through backheel kick.
Then came the most incredible spot of the match – can probably safely say the night too even at this juncture – Fenix hitting a splash – with Penta stood on the middle rope – off his brother’s shoulders from the top, Penta then launching into a destroyer. The crowd thought it was done here.
A superkick party then broke out on both Bros, Fenix narrowly avoiding the BTE Trigger, only to be caught attempting a springboard splash, and planted with the Meltzer Driver. Another close one which the crowd totally bought. Finally playing dirty to win, the Bucks interrupted a ‘Zero Miedo’, stealing Penta’s mask, leading to the BTE Trigger and the 1,2,3. Kinda creative, but this did make Penta look a bit of a dick.
Honestly, this one was so fast that I could either take notes or take it in. Crowd loved it: mesmerizing, creative as hell but probably gonna have to re-watch it to fully appreciate it.
WINNER: Young Bucks
Hobbs & Starks vs the ‘Opponents’ (as Excalibur called them)
The heels attacked before we could even see their pre-match promo. Which they then played as the match continued, telling you all you need to know about the contest: Hobbs talked about ‘Chapter 13’ etc – a lot of Taz-related jargon – gist being that they weren’t done after losing on Sun. We came back to fullscreen just as they clinched the win.
WINNER: Hobbs & Starks
Athena vs Kiera Hogan w/ Baddies
Backstory: ‘Vintage AEW!’ : The Baddies interrupted Athena’s intro-promo on Wed
Kiera’s music is chill, some top-down in the summer stuff (at least in countries outside the UK where they have summer). Stokely promo before we started, they’re gonna send Athena to the back of the line.
Crowd veeery quiet as we began with a big right-hand from Kiera, Athena showing her athleticism, flipping out of an armdrag, following up with a springboard splash and a dive to the outside where she jawed with Jade, which got a nice reaction. Attempting to return, Velvet dropped Athena face-first on the apron, leaving the newcomer in trouble as we went to break.
As we returned, Athena rallied with a dropkick, kicks to the head, enziguri and a handspring forearm, before perching on the top for a long time as Velvet seemed late interfering, allowing a Hogan diving hurracanrana and a running boot to the face. 1, 2, kickout. Crowd still fairly quiet but coming alive at times.
The newbie again caught atop the corner, Kiera joined her with strikes to the face, but was shoved down to the mat, leading to the top-rope cutter for the win. Athena motioned for Jade to join her in the ring. Wanting no part, Jade looked nervous as Stokely stroked the strap. Good action.
HOB video-package incl. newcomer Julia Hart: ‘carefully executed plan, house always wins.’ Then the usual stuff about how people want violence. Bit Wyatt-ish. They should save these promos for when the group actually has something to talk about.
CM Punk then came out, walking slowly with sadness pouring out of him, literally and figuratively, after the announcers had teased all night that he had a big announcement. He’d almost turned around and gone home, he told us, but knew he had to face the fans. ‘I’ve got good news and bad news’. He needs surgery, talked about broken bones and a ‘bad wheel’. He’d offered to relinquish the title but Tony Khan told him this was just a bump in the road. Promised to come back better than ever before.
Have to feel sorry for the guy, especially when it seems he got the injury diving into the crowd.
- Hangman vs David Finlay
- Battle Royal w winner facing Mox at Forbidden Door for Interim World Title
Scorpio Sky vs Dante Martin, TNT Title
Backstory: Dante answered an open challenge at the PPV, interrupted Sky on Wed to say he didn’t just have potential, he was better right now
Presumably Scorp has named his new Lakers-themed belt ‘Jeanie’ after owner Jeanie Buss? Which is fitting given that, like this belt, most of her decisions make no sense whatsoever. Worth noting that Dante made his entrance with just ten minutes of tv time remaining.
‘SCU’ chants sounded as we started with jabs and kicks as they felt each other out, before a series of shoulder tackles put Scorpio on top. Responding with a pair of armdrags, Dante took the champ down as the final break interrupted.
After that opener, and outside of Punk’s promo, the crowd never really returned. As we did, Dante touched the clouds with a springboard splash to the outside, then heading topside for a shotgun dropkick for a close count.
Here we were interrupted for the announcement of the battle royal (see above).
Continuing the pressure, Dante struck with a diving cross body and a stomp to the face. The youngster had Sky on the ropes, but was dropped on them himself, from which he rebounded into the TKO as the champ retained. Between tv-time remaining, ads and the announcement, this one was severely disrupted.
WINNER: Scorpio Sky
AEW brought out the big guns for their return to time slot: a huge tag match worthy of a PPV; a title defense (even if that title’s not what it used to be); the debut of their latest signing; and an announcement from the Champ.
On that subject, there are numerous ways to go here:
- The first, if you wanted a twist to make people forget about Punk relinquishing: Kenny Omega – who last we heard still wasn’t quite healthy – returns during the battle royal, gets his title back.
- Second, Hangman – who as it stands is already booked on Wed – wins the battle royal, ditto.
- Third, Mox, the most credible champ in the company’s short history, gets reign number two.
- Lastly, a surprise candidate with enough credibility – Miro, Malakai – gets their first run.
All depends on just how long Punk’s gonna be out for.
- Bucks vs Lucha Bros
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!