Arena: Sames Auto Arena
City: Laredo, Texas
Last Week’s Rating: 375,000 overall; 0.12 in 18-49 demo
It’s Friday Night, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!
The Elite vs Top Flight & AR Fox, Trios Titles
Backstory: Despite losing to the champs last week, the challengers asked for another match Wednesday
We were given full intros here, a far cry from the usual ‘straight to the ring’ start. Largely so everyone could rock tees promoting All-Star weekend. Omega had both his belts: they acknowledged the IWGP US title and his match with Will Ospreay, which they haven’t done much in the aftermath.
Callis joined on comms as Nick and Dante got started by aggressively passing a basketball before the ref threw a tip off. Lots of basketball associated shenanigans followed, leaving the good guys with the ring to themselves.
Fox took flight to take out the Bucks then dove onto Kenny on the other side. Then took out the Bucks again while holding a basketball as Excalibur commentated like NBA Jam.
A ’defense’ chant kicked up among the crowd as Omega and Fox squared off, Omega wearing 23 so he damn sure ain’t shy. The Elite played keep away then threw a superkick at Fox as he eyed the basketball.
Break. Veeeery goofy so far.
Nick had Fox down as we came back but ate an enziguri before being taken upstairs and flipped off the buckle right back up into a cutter with the wrists clutched. Dante and Omega in, atomic drop and a tope by Dante before he took flight with a high cross body.
Omega quickly kicked out.
Then tried a snapdragon but Dante landed on his feet, Matt blind tagged his way in, Top Flight doubled he and Kenny, standing Spanish fly by Darius to Matt, Fox skinned the cat into a dropkick on Omega in the corner then got two via 450.
Nick hooked Dante off the apron then the Elite hit a bucklebomb/double enziguri in the corner. Before perching Fox & Darius so they were hanging off the middle rope: Nick came off onto both with a senton.
Kenny readied a V-Trigger, Dante came off the top to cut him off, everyone took out everyone, ending when Fox matrix’d under Kenny and Nick, kipping up to take out both via cutter but being dropped via a Matt clothesline. Jackson then took Fox to the corner, firing shots, Fox tried a moonsault but ate a superkick party, Nick escalera’d onto Top Flight outside, Omega hit the V-Trigger then the OWA on Fox to bag a much more convincing win than in their last encounter.
Post-break, this was very good, very much an Elite match so depends on your taste I guess. Smoother than their meeting last Wednesday.
Afterwards, the lights went out, which has been done so often it’s now mundane. The House of Black appeared then disappeared. Hell of a build for these trios belts.
WINNER: The Elite
The Gunns backstage with Lexi. Colten called her ‘Renee’ then both guys said they were unconcerned about defending their belts in a four-way at Revolution.
Speaking of mundane and repetitive, we next had an interrupted interview. Mark Henry was interviewing Orange Cassidy when Wheeler Yuta came in to basically be a little pr***. He doesn’t think Orange cares about his belt so he wants to take it. Cassidy acknowledged that he didn’t teach Yuta anything, just tried to be his ‘best friend’, accepting the youngster’s challenge.
A ‘deeply personal situation’ according to Excalibur. Between two people who haven’t interacted in like ten months.
They quickly showed the JAS’ attack on the Impractical Jokers last week.
Daniel Garcia vs Ricky Starks
Backstory: Starks was cheated out of a match with Jericho, partly by Garcia
Garcia pie-faced Starks, Ricky slugged him then beat him down in the corner before flinging him up in the sky via back body drop. Garcia cut him off with a boot to the gut, then a strange collision in the middle saw Starks back on top, wrenching the arm to walk the ropes.
Garcia then caught him re-entering, attacking the leg with a dragon-screw in the ropes before dumping him off the apron to bring the break.
Limping as we returned, Starks attempted a Spear but collapsed, unable to put weight on his leg. Though caught Garcia coming in with a lariat, leaving both down as the ref began his count.
Starks again caught Garcia being too aggressive, dumping him via overhead belly to belly then hitting a blue thunder bomb for two before blocking another dragon screw. Garcia got two+ via uranage, the crowd didn’t care at all about the youngster. He then applied the Dragon Tamer, for a long time, the crowd still didn’t buy it.
Guevara tried to pull the ropes away as Starks reached for the break, Action Andretti (remember him?) ran Sammy off, the crowd still very quiet. Starks hit a Spear then polished off Danny with the Roshambeaux.
Hardly long enough for this to even get going.
AEW should be concerned by how little the crowd cared about anyone other than Ricky here.
Post-match, a ranting Guevara demanded a match with Action Andretti, promising to ‘beat your ass’.
WINNER: Ricky Starks
An Evil Uno/Moxley video package aired. Uno promised that Moxley would ‘respect me’. They tried at least.
Jade Cargill vs Vertvixen, TBS Title
Leila was certainly dressed for All-Star.
Jade did some push-ups, hit a sloppy pump kick then Jaded.
And still… pointless.
WINNER: Jade Cargill
Rhodes cut a very good, very intense promo about going to a dark place to see the light and taking Strickland to hell with him.
Swerve Strickland vs Dustin Rhodes
Backstory: Strickland talked smack about Rhodes’ family & his goons beat the vet up last week
A chant of ‘Swerve’s House’ confirmed that the crowd were indeed awake.
Parker Boudreaux was immediately taken out trying to attack Rhodes on the ramp. The vet then clotheslined Swerve outside, beating him around ringside, before taking him to the corner for ten.
And was firing jabs like his father until Strickland landed a cheap shot, avoided a snap powerslam but ate a German.
With Rhodes seeking another, Strickland backed him to the corner then bit the hands to free himself, launching up into a heel kick, pursuing Dustin outside where he flung himself into a vicious running dropkick with Rhodes’ head propped against the barricade.
We then went to break with Rhodes bleeding.
A rolling flatliner dropped Rhodes as he tried to fight back. His face covered in blood, Strickland beckoned him to get up then landed a whip-quick kick to the head. Rhodes kicked out at one, firing up as Strickland looked worried: snap powerslam, lariat, another, boot to the face, drop-down uppercut, then a code red after catching Swerve with a boot in the corner.
Very close to three.
Both struggling to their feet, they tested each other with kicks then crashed as both thought cross body. Strickland planted the vet with a DVD on the apron, failing to hook the leg as he again got two.
Before heading up top.
Rhodes crotched him, dropping him via superplex, piledriver, Swerve just kicked out.
Rhodes then readied Cross Rhodes, Strickland bagged two via jacknife pin, Rhodes rebounded and slipped under to hit Cross Rhodes, hauling Strickland back up into Final Reckoning, Boudreaux pulled Rhodes out with Strickland beaten.
For a very rare DQ, which Jericho was quick to point out.
Swerve and Boudreaux were then beating Dustin with a chain, Boudreaux running through any security who tried to intervene and readying a cinderblock when Keith Lee returned just in the nick of time.
Appearing behind the heels with his head shaved, he ran them off then helped Dustin to his feet.
Why Strickland couldn’t beat Rhodes here is puzzling. It wouldn’t have changed the angle involving Lee one bit.
Very good match though.
WINNER: Dustin Rhodes by DQ
- Jon Moxley vs Evil Uno
- Revolution tag team battle royale (They added Top Flight, Rush/Vance & Aussie Open tonight)
- The Acclaimed vs Big Bill & Lee Moriarty
- Christian interview with Schiavone
- ‘Major Announcement’ from Tony Khan (It’s been a while)
- Saraya vs Skye Blue
- Bryan Danielson will speak
- Wheeler Yuta vs Orange Cassidy
- Sammy Guevara vs Action Andretti
Three out of tonight’s four matches had some sort of backstory and build, and involved talent fans have some reason to care about.
Guess that can be taken a couple of ways: positive in that it made for a fairly entertaining hour of wrestling; negative in that it’s noteworthy when they do what they should be doing every single week.
- Dustin Rhodes vs Swerve Strickland (best thing on AEW tv this week)
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!