Arena: UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
City: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Has Christian finished yet? Is it safe to put the TV back on? Thank God. And with that…
It’s Saturday morning, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!
Andrade El Idolo vs Rey Fenix
Backstory: Andrade tried to recruit the L. Bro’s to work for him when he first arrived, cost Rey in no1 cont. battle royal with a low-blow
It’s fairly common knowledge by now that the AAA guys can’t compete Sunday, depriving fans of Ospreay vs Andrade. For us, this match is a nice consolation; for the guys, a chance to show what they could’ve done at Forbidden Door.
A cagey start with both guys circling, Andrade taking control with an arm-wringer before Fenix used his speed to reverse the hold. Fenix avoided a waiting El Idolo by diving over his outstretched feet. Andrade responded by mirroring the move exactly, showing that he could go dive for dive with Rey despite his size.
Striking with his spin-back heelkick out of the ropes, Fenix attempted a fireman’s carry, only to be countered with a swivel of the hips into the three amigos – ‘Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!’ – until Rey countered a fourth, then striking with three of his own as the crowd applauded.
Continuing the theme, Fenix slapped his chest Guerrero-style as he took to the top, Andrade taking a powder to the outside where he was drilled with a spectacular springboard pescado. Returning to the ring with a standing switch in the middle, Rey flipped out, landing a German for the first pin attempt, which stopped at 2. As he ran the turnbuckle, the Lucha Bro was shoved to the outside as we took our first ad break.
Fenix was down as we returned, El Idolo scaling the ropes but cut-off as he reached the pinnacle. From where he shoved Rey into a precarious position hanging upside down from the buckle, then drilled him with a double foot stomp off the top for the second close count of the match.
The crowd were eating it up, as they should’ve been.
Striking back with a pump kick, Fenix hit a foot stomp of his own with Andrade on the mat, saw a cutter countered, but rebounded with a springboard dropkick: both guys down for a much-needed breather, but only for a few seconds as Rey struck again with a roll-through into a cutter for another close call.
The homage continuing, a Fenix Frogsplash saw Andrade get the knees up, the bigger guy then visibly frustrated when the count stopped at 2. Climbing to their feet, an exchange of strikes in the middle saw Rey surprisingly getting the better ‘til a huge chop to the chest from El Idolo dropped him.
Responding quickly, Rey struck with an enziguri, went to walk the ropes, but Andrade crotched him as Rey took a nasty spill out to the apron, where he was propped against the ringpost. Andrade came steaming in with a running knee but struck only metal, Fenix again throwing caution to the wind with a stomp from the apron to Andrade on the outside and another nasty looking landing.
Hopefully Fenix isn’t cutting his career too short because God-damn he’s special. Another break.
Back with a bang, a top-rope Spanish fly greeted us on our return, Fenix crawling to cover as El Idolo just got his foot on the rope in time. ‘Fight forever!’. With Aubrey distracted, Andrade saw a low blow blocked, avoided another back heel kick, but was blasted with a spinning kick in the corner after Fenix ran up his chest. After Andrade again bailed to the outside, Fenix exploded with a tope con hiro as the respective managers went at it in the ring.
With Jose and Alex distracting the ref, Rush appeared in the aisle, and this time the low blow landed, leading to the Hammerlock DDT for the 1,2,3, after which they unveiled La Faccion Ingobernable tees.
Post-match, the heels removed Fenix’s mask (which AEW massively over-does) but were discouraged further by Penta and a shovel.
Last week’s opener was described here as fantastic. Which makes this, at minimum, magnificent. You want action? Fast, flowing, hard-hitting, big moves? Watch this match. You want a story? Watch this match. Both knew each other, tried to one-up each other, showed how they were evenly matched, and the only thing that could separate them was a low blow, bringing us back to the reason behind the contest. Watch this match.
Eddie Kingston said that at Blood & Guts, he’d find out how a coward’s blood tastes. Then, as he’s done before, quoted the late, great 2Pac: a coward like Jericho dies a thousand deaths, but a soldier, like him, Santana, Ortiz, dies only once.
Swerve in our Glory promo: they weren’t quite on the same page but ‘we can get there’.
Serena Deeb & Mercedes Martinez vs Sierra & Laynie Luck
Sierra got a chant from the crowd, must be local?
This was your typical second-match-on-Rampage: established names making short work of no-names. Quick tags throughout from the dominant heels, culminating in double tap-outs. Tension bubbled afterwards, owing to a slight bump from Martinez to Deeb during towards the end of the contest.
WINNER: Serena & Mercedes
Tully and Tully Blanchard Enterprises (Brian Cage, Jasper Kaun & Toa Liona) video package. Gist was that you don’t want them mad at you.
Jonathan Gresham and Lee Moriarty were with Lexi. Lee was about to challenge Gresham until Tully interrupted, leading to a Teddy Long special: tag match made. Gresham has a rep for being great in the ring but has no presence whatsoever.
Hook vs The DKC
Backstory: Announced last week that Hook’d be facing someone from NJPW Dojo
Immediate takedown from Hook as DKC grabbed the ropes. A strike to the face only angered the youngster, who struck with knees and punches to the gut in the corner and a throw out of it. The DKC briefly staggered Hook, but was planted with an overhead suplex, crossface strikes and the Redrum for the light-speed tap. Excellent action while it lasted.
Gunn Club and the Acclaimed promo: Billy said he’d got them a place on the pre-show; the Gunns thought this meant they were off to Japan. ‘Scissor me Daddio!’ Too much fun.
Added to Forbidden Door pre-show:
- QT Marshall & Aaron Solo v. Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi (Erm, WHY?)
- Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland v. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Added to Forbidden Door:
- Winner of Jericho/Kingston six-man gets the man-advantage at Blood & Guts (kinda spoils the ending, assuming TNA aren’t booking it)
- Blood & Guts – JAS vs Kingston, Mox, etc.
Jeff Cobb vs Kash Wheeler
Backstory: Both are involved in the 3-team match for the IWGP tag titles on Sunday
Caprice Coleman joined on comms. I’ve really tried with this guy but he suuuuucks. Loud rather than effective.
Kash’s pre-match promo was excellent, putting over Cobb to a new audience while insisting that he’s never gonna back down. Cobb wasn’t bad either, other than the beyond tired ‘put some respect on my name’. Put an original thought in your head instead.
Are FTR better as babyfaces? They’re phenomenal good guys, getting a nice pop as Kash made his entrance.
This one kicked-off with Wheeler trying to ground the big guy but failing, trying to quicken the pace but bouncing off after a leapfrog and a shoulder tackle. Finally, a dropkick to the knee and a headlock achieved his goal before Cobb shook him off, planting him to the mat.
Continuing the theme, Wheeler hit a dropkick after a duck-down but was swiftly draped across the ropes throat-first as the final break beckoned.
Things weren’t going any better as we returned, Kash in a body vice but fighting out into a sleeper as he clung to the big guy old-school style. Exchanging strikes, Kash was floored but fought back up, looking for a backslide pin but failing to drag Cobb down. A chopblock/shoulder charge combo nearly took Cobb off his feet as he staggered over the ropes to the outside. In a rare dive, Wheeler finally floored Cobb with a slingshot plancha but was still beaten back inside and hauled atop the buckle but again fought out, planting Cobb with a powerbomb from the top.
Both guys were slow to get off the mat; Cobb missed a standing moonsault. Kash went for a tornado DDT but was flung off in mid-flight by the stronger man, who then attempted a Tour of the Islands but Wheeler again targeted the knee. Wheeler’s piledriver attempt fared no better than the DDT, Cobb back-dropping his way out, landing a release German, culminating with a Tour of the Islands, and the win for the import, who was made to look very strong here in his debut. Hell of a job by Kash.
As concerns Sunday’s tag match, much as it’d be cool for FTR to add the NJPW belts to their collection, Tony Khan’s admittance that they’d have been working with Punk if he wasn’t injured means it’s unlikely.
After the action, a huge fight erupted as the whole world came out, or at least all the guys involved in the three-way Sunday, plus Ospreay and Orange, plus Eddie Kingston, who attacked Jericho at the booth, as they brawled their way through the crowd and into Forbidden Door.
WINNER: Jeff Cobb
This was a vast improvement. After putting out a card last Friday insulting the word ‘meh’, this time around we were given a PPV-quality opener, a blood-pumping performance by Hook and a cross-promotional main event and mass brawl hyping Sunday’s PPV.
Given the recent ratings and missing stars, it’ll be interesting to see how Forbidden Door does. The build has been an advert for why AEW should never go the monthly PPV route, but in-ring, it should be a hell of a watch. Enjoy if you’re enjoying.
- Andrade vs Fenix
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!