AEW Rampage, Friday 10/28/22
Arena: Mohegan Sun
City: Uncasville, CT
Last Week’s Rating: 480,000 overall; 0.13 in 18-49 demo
It’s Friday Night, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!
Jon Moxley vs Matt Menard, World Title Eliminator
Backstory: Yuta was double-booked with a prior NJPW commitment, so his tag was changed to this. Menard gets a world title shot if he… sorry, couldn’t keep a straight face… wins
Hard to think of a better way to diminish title shots. Or of a better way to waste Moxley’s time. Throwing cups of water into the ocean would be more productive.
A bunch of early interference led to Menard crotching Moxley as the first break beckoned.
Powerbomb off the top from Menard after yet more interference, into a crab, Moxley finally getting the ropes as the crowd chanted his name. Cutter out-of-nowhere leaving both on their backs in the middle.
Moxley then blasted Menard via KKL, to the corner, superplex, leg hooked, kickout at 2, straight into an ankle lock, Menard kicked him away briefly but the champ hit right back with a Regal Knee for another two-count. Never letting go of Menard, Mox transitioned straight into kick-your-head-in stomps, bringing Angelo Parker in to be hit with a cutter mid-ring, right in front of the ref.
Taking advantage, Menard hit a ddt, then his own really weak stomps to the face, from which Moxley ripped him down into the rear naked choke for the quick tap.
Moxley’s music had barely kicked in when Stokely Hathaway quickly hit the ramp along with Moriarty. Next Wednesday, does Moxley want to go one-on-one with Lee? The crowd booed this question. A Moriarty package played sort-of explaining who Moriarty is and why he joined the Firm. More boos.
A ‘Moxley’ chant kicked up as he grabbed the mic to say that Lee was talented but hanging round with the wrong people. After Wednesday, ‘You’re never gonna be the same kid!’ Great, quick, intense promo. Mox hit the mat for push-ups as his music played properly and the segment ended.
WINNER: Jon Moxley
Excalibur announced the return of the annual Eliminator Tournament for a title shot at Winter is Coming. The first entrant? Dante Martin.
Jade Cargill promo while doing pull-ups. Nyla has her belt and she’s ‘that bitch’. Original.
Keith Lee vs Serpentico
Powerbomb in about ten seconds.
Schiavone straight in to join Lee, asking about their upcoming title match with the Acclaimed. Who beelined right to the ring, no rap. Because Billy Gunn’s gone missing. And they want to know where he is.
At which, Swerve appeared on the big-screen. He’s also a director and his latest film is a horror involving Daddy Ass. Strickland’s gonna make sure Billy’s not there for the rematch since he cost them the titles last time.
Strickland then pulled out pliers, presumably cutting Gunn’s finger off (his hands were tied behind his back). This was so goofy it almost seemed like a spoof. Yet was clearly supposed to be a hard-hitting angle.
WINNER: Keith Lee
JAS promo. This was a re-shoot after Dynamite of the one with audio issues. They all shouted. Jericho reiterated his promise to go after anyone associated with ROH and the open challenge for Wednesday.
Madison Rayne vs Tay Melo
Backstory: Melo & Anna insulted Rayne & Skye Blue, cheated to win in a tag
Very synchronized exchange into a standing switch and grappling on the mat, Melo looking to attack the arm then slapping the taste out of Rayne. Weak-looking trip from the vet, who avoided the charge in the corner but Tay met her up top with a shot to the face then dropped her back-first across the top buckle.
Break time. Personality-wise, Tay has really improved. She has poise and charisma and knows how to play the heel.
Rayne countered a suplex into a ddt as we returned, the crowd clapping as both struggled to their feet. Rayne with slaps to the chest, elbow strike, neckbreaker, count of two.
Melo backed up into the corner, catching the vet with a boot but Rayne fired back with Tay up top, hitting an avalanche bulldog/cutter for another two. Tay missed a pumpkick, Rayne grabbed a roll-up, then another two after a sliding lariat.
After an exchange of forearms in the corner, Melo hit a rising knee to the face then the Tay-KO for the win.
Very slow. This was apparently Melo’s first singles match (at least on tv) since March. She has to wrestle more regularly if she’s going to fulfil her potential.
WINNER: Tay Melo
Lexi Nair with Ethan Page. What were they thinking turning on MJF Wednesday?
Page reminded Max that the Firm made him the #1 contender. But Max had changed plans, thus so would they. Their attack will apparently keep MJF off TV next week and they’ll make sure he’s not 100% going in to the PPV. Page is also in the Eliminator Tournament. Which he’ll win and go on to do something Max won’t – beat Jon Moxley. Good promo and intensity from Page. It’s a shame the way he’s been used.
(This is pure conjecture and probably a little paranoia – but JR twice mentioned Tony Khan putting Moxley in a bad position – firstly by making him wrestle Menard knowing JAS would interfere, then by having to face Moriarty next week with Full Gear coming up quickly. Between that and the Elite vid with the burning AEW logo the other day, they can’t possibly be thinking of making Khan an on-screen character based around Brawl Out, can they?)
Matt Taven vs Wardlow, TNT Title
Apparently FTR are a big reason the Kingdom have been brought in to the company.
Very good promo from Wardlow prior to the match, putting over both himself and the powerbomb.
Surprisingly, Taven is the same size as Wardlow, catching the champ with a dropkick early after a leapfrog/dropdown sequence but Wardlow rebounded quickly with a huge hip-toss, shoulders to the gut and shots to the face in the corner. Before flinging Taven outside like a ball of paper.
Where Bennett attacked Wardlow then hid behind Maria, allowing Taven to strike with a dive, then Bennett flung the champ knee-first into the ringsteps. Taven striking with a frog-splash across the same knee back inside.
The amount of interference lately in this company is gross.
Battling back as we came back, Wardlow was firing away but blasted with a Taven running-knee. Back to the top, Wardlow moved, then hauled Taven up onto the shoulders to be dropped via F-10 and blasted with a lariat, overhead belly-to-belly and a one-armed spinebuster.
With the Symphony gearing up, Maria took to the apron: Wardlow bridged out of a quick roll-up attempt, then drilled Taven with the first of four powerbombs. After the second, Bennett thought about interfering but locked eyes with the champ and thought better of it.
Though he did attack from behind immediately afterward. Bringing the other half of WarJoe to the ring to smash through the new arrivals. After which Powerhouse Hobbs’ music hit, which seemed a good thing until the Embassy attacked from behind. Sigh.
Cage and Hobbs held up the ROH and TNT title belts respectively to end the show. If you can erase all the ROH stuff from your mind, these should at least make for good feuds.
This was a very entertaining main event which made the TNT Champ look better than he has for months.
- Darby Allin vs Jay Lethal
- Orange Cassidy vs Luchasaurus vs Rey Fenix, All-Atlantic Title
- Renee sits down with Britt Baker & Saraya
- Jericho vs a former ROH champ, ROH Title
- ‘Daddy Ass Bday Bash’
- Jon Moxley vs Lee Moriarty
- Jade Cargill vs Marina Shafir, TBS Title
- Presumably the Eliminator Tournament will start
- Mike Tyson will make an appearance on commentary
- All-Atlantic-City dreammatch – All-Atlantic Champion’s choose
Tony Khan promised that in October Rampage was going to get a renewed sense of purpose – more stars, live shows. Instead, the company presented arguably their worst line-up to date. While a baffling number of talents sit on the side-lines.
To illustrate the point, here are the guys and girls who didn’t appear on TV this week:
- Dante Martin
- Hikaru Shida
- Isiah Kassidy
- John Silver
- Lance Archer
- Ricky Starks
- Trent Beretta
That’s 12, not counting Sting who I’m assuming is taking a legit break, and being very liberal with ‘appeared on TV’.
Throw in the returning Bucks & Kenny Omega, along with the rumoured signings of Bandido & Juice Robinson, and there’s no reason the company can’t present – if not an ‘A’ show – at least a good ‘B+’ every Friday.
We live in hope.
- Wardlow vs Matt Taven
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!