Arena: Little Caesar’s
City: DEEEE-TROIT, MI
An absolutely phenomenal show on Sunday: loved both the six-man opener and the Ospreay match.
It’s Saturday morning, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!
ROYAL RAMPAGE BATTLE ROYAL
Backstory: Winner gets a shot @ Mox.
To quote Luke Gallows. ‘a battle royal is just exchanging a bunch of forearms with your good brothers.’ To quote Tony Khan, ‘a battle royal is the culmination of human progress over millennia’.
J.R., Tony Schiavone and Excalibur on comms.
There was a ‘blue’ ring and a ‘red’ ring, two guys started in each (Hangman and Hobbs; Darby and Nese) up to a total of ten. The winner of each ring would then face off. Whenever you can lean towards WW3 as a concept, you have to do it.
Also, didn’t Hangman say a few weeks ago that it didn’t look like he’d be getting a title shot anytime soon? Anyway, just as he about had Hobbs eliminated, Ricky Starks joined their ring. Not long after, Nese was gone, Darby kissing him goodbye with a tope through the ropes to the outside. The Butcher immediately arrived, flinging Allin into the ringside barrier.
John Silver was next, helping Hangman suplex Hobbs, before the pair each ‘pretended’ to eliminate the other. Amusing, but isn’t this for the f****** world championship!!?
Caster was next, the Acclaimed accompanied by Billy Gunn, followed quickly by Rush, even more quickly by the Blade, he and his partner taking over their ring. Penta was met in the aisle by Rush, Oscuro landing a superkick and a slingblade as they made their way back inside.
Silver eliminated from the red as Swerve joined the blue ring, running wild on Caster, Blade and Butcher, quickly eliminating Max just in time for Keith Lee’s arrival in the opposite ring.
Dustin Rhodes joined just as we returned; Matt Hardy had joined during the break. Rush and Penta fought on the apron, Rush striking with a low blow as the pair eliminated each other. Frankie Kazarian joined just as Matt Hardy said bye-bye. Dante Martin joined next and was quickly doubled by Hobbs and Starks.
Takeshita came out to a nice pop, mercifully bringing some fast, dynamic action as he exploded on Darby and Starks, culminating with a German suplex to both at the same time, waking the crowd. Kaz gone courtesy of Blade in the blue, Brody King came out as the last entrant in the red ring. Orange Cassidy was number ten in the blue.
Brody eliminated Dante, Dustin gone too. Takeshita eliminated by Butcher and Blade after some excellent exchanges with Orange: Takeshita’s really, really good.
Swerve ‘swerved’ Orange, eliminating Cassidy after seemingly organizing the good guys working together. Either he’s playing a babyface you can’t trust – which other than that one guy, doesn’t really work – or he’s headed heel. If it’s the latter, it’s yet another example of the awful booking AEW’s been vomiting up lately. Either that or one of those really fun, new partners who hate each other storylines.
Hobbs gone by Lee, Lee by Starks, Swerve by B&B, Starks by Page, Page by Brody, leaving King as the only guy in the blue ring. B&B gone by Darby, he and Brody the last men left. King squashed Allin with a senton, took him to the apron in a choke and dropped him to the floor like Rampage’s ratings. Twenty. Two. Minutes.
Once again, there were too many nobodies. This could’ve been kept to just one ring and the legitimate players. Though, to be fair, this concept was better than the Casino-style they usually do.
WINNER: Brody King, challenges Mox on Dynamite
Hook interview with Alex Marvez. He said a bunch of esoteric stuff Kyrie Irving might say.
Young Bucks vs Yoshi Hashi & Hirooki Goto (Bishamon)
Backstory: Bucks challenged the pair on Wednesday,
This is an ‘eliminator’ match meaning the challengers get a title shot if they win. Are we sure WWE haven’t bought AEW?
The NJPW guys took over early with some very weak blows to the back until Matt got the tag and hit locomotion northern lights suplexes, culminating in a double and then an escalera by Nick as the ads arrived.
Back, Nick was hit with a suplex, a double tag following as Goto flew in with a leg lariat and a bulldog on Matt for two. Fluid double teaming by the Bucks as Nick tagged in, Matt running up his chest into a sliced bread, Nick following with a punt to the face for a two of their own. Nick avoided the ushigoroshi but not a clothesline in the corner, the Headhunter double-team followed for another two which the crowd kinda bought. Matt then landed superkicks to both but was run over by Hashi as all four hit the deck.
Worth noting here that Excalibur kept emphasizing that the NJPW/AEW collab was continuing.
Rapid fire: Ushigoroshi by Goto, tagged in Hashi who blocked a Nick superkick and hit one of his own, double team superkick into another ushigoroshi for 2. Matt arrived with another superkick, Bucks superkick party on Goto, BTE trigger on Hashi, Nick double-jump cross-body from one ring to the next on Goto, then back into the main ring for the Meltzer Driver and the five-star victory. Hell of a finishing sequence. Nick’s speed and athleticism is crazy.
Good action, very good in places.
WINNER: Young Bucks
Promo for Gresham and Moriarty vs the Gates of Agony. Gresham got pretty animated but I didn’t believe a word he said.
- Scorpio Sky vs Wardlow, streetfight, TNT title
- Swerve in our Glory vs Butcher & Blade
- Christian and Luchasaurus will appear
- Mox vs Brody King, Interim World title
- Jonathan Gresham & Lee Moriarty vs the Gates of Agony w/ Tully
Toni Storm vs Nyla Rose
Backstory: Nyla and Shafir attacked Storm on Wed
So, Nyla is supposedly the number one contender. Guess we’ll take your word for it.
Camera shots were very tight for this one because people were leaving during the action.
Toni jabbed and moved, trying to avoid the bigger Nyla’s power moves, landing a leg trip and a shotgun dropkick to the face. With Storm in control, she was low-bridged and drilled with a hell of a kick by Shafir as we went to our last break.
Returning to Toni slumping after being squashed in the corner, she avoided a senton and blasted Nyla with the hip attack, then low bridged her to the outside, following with a diving DDT on both her and Shafir.
Diving from the top, a cross-body saw Rose kick out at barely one and then smash through Storm. After exchanging strikes in the middle, Nyla hit a thrust kick for 2 before draping Storm across the ropes and going for the diving knee drop which Storm avoided, then hitting a German for a close call. A pendulum DDT followed for the win.
Following the match, Marina attacked but Rosa came out to fight off the baddies (lower-case ‘b’) and the good girls shook hands to close out the show as Excalibur made a ‘Thunder Storm’ pun.
WINNER: Toni Storm
Tony Khan needs help. Since purchasing ROH, AEW’s out-of-ring quality has dropped, fittingly enough, like their ratings.
From Christian going for the cheapest of cheap heat, a Vinny-Ru-style ‘Swerve Bro!’ following Jade’s match on Wednesday, to the lack of follow-up with Wardlow and the unending parade of belts, it feels like we’re watching another company.
And yes, there are extenuating circumstances. But Punk was injured three days after Double or Nothing, not three days before Forbidden Door. In-ring, Bryan Danielson would’ve added to a spectacular PPV on Sunday but he wasn’t writing the shows before his absence.
The AEW owner simply has too much on his hands. The detail and coherence which made AEW such a refreshing alternative have disappeared. And this week’s TV was the battle royal at the end of some Dark tapings. Hopefully, there’ll be time to reset things after a hectic ‘big show’ schedule, and build properly to All Out.
- Something from Forbidden Door
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!