Arena: Prudential Center
City: Newark, NJ
Last Week’s Rating: 456,000 overall; 0.11 in 18-49 demo
That’s the joint-lowest demo in the show’s history, to go along with its worst ever cable position. After watching last week, not at all surprised.
It’s Friday Night, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!
JR once again welcomed us to Dynamite. That is not a typo. The guy’s been through some stuff so I didn’t mention it last time but that’s twice in quick succession. Unlike Dynamite, Rampage thankfully came to us from the Prudential Center, because that crowd Wednesday needed an obituary.
Joined by Schiavone, Jericho and Excalibur, they ran down the show.
Lance Archer vs Ricky Starks, Eliminator Tournament 1st Rnd
Backstory: Winner will face Cage in semis, match rearranged after Archer attacked Starks last Weds
(The final of this tournament will now take place next Wednesday, rather than at Full Gear. While the semi vs Cage will be on the pre-show.)
Jericho was the only announcer not surprised that this began backstage despite Starks saying he’d do just that Wednesday. Archer dominated until attacking random people, leaving an opening for Ricky, who led Archer through the curtain and into the arena.
Both were dressed for a fight rather than a wrestling match.
Quickly back on top, Archer dragged the smaller man up the steps into the fans where they continued to brawl until Starks launched himself back over the guard rail via diving forearm.
Reciprocating, Archer pulled off essentially the same move, finally dragging Ricky into the ring as the bell rang. After a brief flurry from Starks, Archer planted him on the apron with a chokeslam to bring the break.
‘You know who’s going to be ROH champion after the show tomorrow?’ began Jericho, who’d barely got the words out when Schiavone deadpanned ‘Bryan Danielson’. These two are great together.
Still well in control, Archer choked the younger guy in the corner before firing in shots as a ‘Let’s go Ricky!’ chant briefly got going. Dangerously close to a Blackout, Starks fired back, freeing himself on the buckle, from where he launched a diving shoulder, following up with a big clothesline to finally take the big guy down. A tornado ddt attempt was blocked; Archer absolutely drilled Ricky with a lariat for a close two.
Schiavone mentioned an interview he’d done earlier with Jericho & Sammy, noting that when it aired he wanted Chris to watch Sammy’s reaction after he walked away. Tony’s out here droppin’ dimes.
To a duelling chant of ‘Let’s go…’, Archer hit a clubbing blow to the back, Starks ducked under a clothesline, this time hitting the tornado ddt for two. Then set up the Rochambeaux; Archer flippantly shook him off, then went for a pounce, which Starks kinda avoided (he was certainly meant to) before hitting a Spear as Archer attempted a big boot, for the win.
Post-match, Brian Cage came out, distracting Ricky and leaving him open to be chokeslamed onto the ring steps by Archer. The former Team Taz-ers will go at it tonight on the pre-show.
This was just there. Not much happened, a lot of brawling in the crowd. Starks never took his shirt off. Suggesting he might not be 100%.
WINNER: Ricky Starks
The aforementioned interview aired – Schiavone with the Sex Gods. The champ reiterated that at some point in the match, the BCC boys will turn on each other, whereas he and Sammy guarantee that the belt will remain with him. Jericho left, Guevara said ‘We’ll see about that.’
On comms, Jericho tried to cover by saying Sammy has a lot of dreams etc.
Lee Moriarty vs Hook
Backstory: Moriarty said last week that it’s time he won gold and Hook just happened to hear
It’s a day ending in ‘day’, so no-one cared about Lee Moriarty or his awful music. El Diablo Guapo got a nice response. This crowd are already far more enthusiastic than on Dynamite.
An aggressive lockup ended with a Moriarty cheapshot, Hook dived for a double leg, thinking submission as Moriarty fought him off and backed away into the corner. When they met in the middle again, Hook landed a judo throw, rolling through looking for a wristlock, maintaining his grip into a northern lights suplex. Very, very smooth.
An elbow to the face shook Moriarty free – very briefly – Hook coming straight back with a float under into a gut wrench suplex, the youngster posing before a receptive crowd. Until Hathaway interfered, leaving him to be blasted by a Moriarty big boot.
Laying in crossface shots to a downed Hook as we returned, Hook then took out Moriarty with a lariat as he rebounded off the ropes, blocked a right, laying in a barrage of bodyshots as the ref called for a ropebreak. A hiptoss followed, back-heel trip, up into a fisherman throw.
This kid really is just so smooth the way he chains things together.
Another cheap shot from Lee bought him space to deliver a diving knee off the top to the back of the head. Racing to cover, Moriarty got two, transitioning straight into the kimura lock. This time Hook got the rope break, Moriarty sweeping him into a cradle as he got up for a second two count.
Then into the Border City Stretch. Hook rolled the hips, out and up into the Redrum. Night night.
Really enjoyed this. Hook absolutely dominated a guy who got more against Moxley last week.
Footage aired of Silver’s interference in last week’s Rush/Bandido match. Leading to Schiavone backstage with Silver, Ten, Rush & Jose. The latter of whom painted it as Silver costing Ten a title shot (Rush had promised him one when he won the Eliminator tournament and then the AEW title).
Silver denied this but admitted to costing ‘Ruuushbag’ a shot. Jose said that Silver didn’t take things seriously, challenging him to a tag. Silver said ‘us two’ will beat you, at which Ten took umbrage – must be having a bad week. Rush then got in Silver’s face, cutting a promo in Spanish.
Madison Rayne vs Athena
We were shown footage of Athena essentially turning heel over recent Darks by attacking her opponents after the bell.
So, instead of firing her for taking liberties and beating up an enhancement talent, they’ve turned it into a storyline. Interesting decision in a company where discipline has been lax, to put it mildly.
While a Madison Rayne promo aired, Athena had attacked her from behind as she posed on the ropes. The cringing started early as Athena almost dropped Rayne out of a wheelbarrow position, finally managing to fling her into the guardrail.
Then continued as Athena sold after a delayed suplex which she had performed. The commentators had to speculate that Rayne must’ve turned it into a ddt. Rayne then ran through her with a couple weak-looking clotheslines, set up CrossRayne, Athena fought out into a flipping stunner, then hauled her into an off-the-shoulder chestbreaker for the win.
Short and still sucked. Post-match, Athena popped Aubrey in the mush as she tried to drag her off Madison. I repeat, a mid-level, at best, performer took liberties in the ring and they rewarded her with a storyline. Mercedes Martinez then came out to no reaction whatsoever. Athena took a powder.
The only thing the crowd cared about in this whole sequence was Aubrey being cheap-shotted.
Backstage with Renee, the Best Friends and the Factory. We were shown QT piledriving Danhausen on the steps last Friday. Cassidy challenged the Factory to a 5-on-5, QT said there were only three of them as Rocky Romero stepped forward.
Protesting that this was still only four, Chuck handed Renee a videotape – ‘What am I supposed to do with this?’. ‘Watch the spooky video, we’ll see you tomorrow,’ replied Trent.
The video was Danhausen doing some stuff, ending with him dropping a pile of teeth on a table. Chuck handing over a tape was amusing, but this was supposed to be a bunch of people pissed at a guy who’d injured their friend.
Another HOB video – a voiceover talked about a world full of ‘idleness, vanity and complacency’ as footage aired of the four destroying a bunch of people in the dark. ‘Members of the House of Black, please… rise’.
Seems they’re returning sooner than later.
Ortiz spoke for Eddie, saying they were ready and quoting DJ Khaled. Takeshita said it might be a dream match for them but it’d become a ‘nightmare’.
Eddie Kingston & Ortiz vs Jun Akiyama & Konosuke Takeshita
Backstory: Kingston always wanted a match vs Akiyama, who found out and made it happen
Kingston and Takeshita got us going: lockup, back away, ‘Eddie’ chant as they locked-up once more, intensely, Takeshita go-behind, switch to a headlock from Kingston, who slipped out, Takeshita couldn’t budge him with a shoulder block, tried again and ate a belly to belly.
Leaving Kingston to tag his partner then race across the ring to cheap shot his idol Akiyama on the apron. The veteran in via tag, he quickly knocked down Ortiz then reciprocated the cheap shot, sending Kingston to the ringside mats. A couple elbows to the head and a piledriver brought Eddie in to break things up – Akiyama didn’t even wait for the contact, springing up to lock eyes with Eddie as the ref cajoled the illegal man back to the apron.
Takeshita back in, he and Akiyama taking turns attacking Ortiz in the corner, culminating in a combo belly-to-back/reverse-bulldog as Takeshita got a two count. Trying to fight back, Ortiz was dropped with a wicked right from Takeshita as the ads arrived.
An Ortiz northern lights got two slaps of the mat as we returned, quick tag to Eddie, Takeshita fighting, keeping both at bay until hooked into a dragon sleeper then passed to Kingston for a ddt and a close count.
The commentators were by now talking up the fact that Eddie and Akiyama hadn’t faced off and it was distracting Kingston. Who baited the youngster into an exchange of chops, eyeing Akiyama as if trying to impress him – irish whip, Takeshita ducked under before exploding with a leaping clothesline. This guy’s acceleration is up there with Omega & Ospreay.
Both made tags, boot to the face from Akiyama, Ortiz fired up, launching chops and strikes but was big boot-ed once more then hit with a leaping knee as Akiyama motioned that it was over, setting up the Exploder.
Bringing in Kingston as the two finally went at it – forearms and chops to the chest – leading to Eddie being dropped by his idol, who was then taken out by Ortiz, leaving Takeshita to attack but be caught in a powerslam.
Despite this, he popped back up, striking with a blue thunder bomb but being dropped via a Kingston backdrop driver, all four down.
Scrambling to their feet, Kingston & Akiyama were right back to it, each hit an exploder but both popped right back up, Eddie hit an enziguri but was blasted with a knee to the face, taking him outside. Leaving Ortiz to be squashed in the corner with a knee to the back of the head then hit with the Exploder for the 1, 2, 3.
WINNER: Jun Akiyama & Konosuke Takeshita
Added to Full Gear pre-show:
- The Factory vs Best Friends, Danhausen & Rocky Romero
- Ricky Starks vs Brian Cage
- Eddie Kingston vs Jun Akiyama
- Eliminator Tournament Final
- Airs at 4pm EST
Solid enough hour of wrestling – really enjoyed the Hook match. But this episode highlighted like no episode before that the show’s an absolute afterthought. Because on the company’s last nationally televised broadcast before a ppv, not a single solitary star appeared and outside of Jericho/Sammy, the same can be said for angles.
Almost as if this show exists separately to the important stuff.
- Hook vs Lee Moriarty
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!