Arena: Cow Palace
City: San Francisco, CA
Last Week’s Rating: 409,000 overall; 0.11 in 18-49 demo
Guess what’s back? Back again. Tony Khan’s, a-nnounce-ments.
Yep, he’s promised there are more to come. And here I was thinking they couldn’t possibly top the last one.
It’s Friday Night, and you know what that means… it’s time for our Rampage Review!
Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta vs Alex Reynolds & John Silver vs Top Flight vs Aussie Open
Backstory: the DO were eliminated Weds by the BCC, ditto Top Flight by AO
Literally any of these teams would be better than every team competing Sunday, excepting the Acclaimed. In any combination.
The BCC got their entrance as the Dark Order attacked mid-way through, returning the favor from Wednesday. Top Flight pelted all four with dives, AO dropped them off the apron as they tried to get back in.
The Kingdom were watching from the front row.
Stereo offense from Top Flight: hurracanranas, dropkicks & lariats in the corner left AO reeling. Dante hit a senton from out-to-in as Jericho recalled Eddie Guerrero winning the title in this building.
Fletcher blocked a Darius suplex as Reynolds tagged himself in off the latter, ducking and dodged both Aussies, sending Davis to the floor as Claudio tagged himself in off Fletcher.
Silver in to double-leg the Swiss who had to cover up, seek a rope break then take a cheap shot to fend off Silver. Who’d also briefly woken a cold crowd. Silver fired back with a kick from the apron before running through his ‘comeback’ at ringside, smashing through all the others, emerging atop the buckle on the other side of the ring only to be caught into a backbreaker by Castagnoli.
LFI were shown watching backstage as Excalibur called them ‘another one of the great teams here in AEW’. Have they even won on TV? A lead announcer must have credibility, he can’t seem like a shill.
Reynolds in to attack both BCC but clobbered from behind by Yuta, a double boot from the pair left them on top as the ads arrived.
Yuta knocked Silver off the apron but lowered his head and was nailed by a Reynolds stomp, tags to Dante & Aussie Open as Martin took out both via diving cross body then ducked a lariat to soar over the ropes onto everyone at ringside; landing on his feet like it was nothing. And leaving Fletcher alone vs him and his brother: superkick, flatliner through the ropes, count of two broken up by Silver.
Reynolds took out Top Flight, Davis him, Darius took an AO superkick party which barely connected as he landed short off the top, pendulum powerbomb, the save at two by Dante.
Sandwich lariats by the Aussies to Claudio, Davis levelled his teammate as Dante ducked another lariat, DO took him out with superkicks, ran through their rapid-fire combo offense (which always looks great) on Darius, Yuta stole the pin via seatbelt.
Very entertaining match. Be surprised if the four-way Sunday can lace this one’s boots.
They should do more with Silver & Reynolds, who look, act and feel like a proper tag team. Most importantly, the crowd respond to them.
As if on cue, the Dark Order duo took their revenge on the BCC as the four brawled to the back. It’d be great to have a tag feud outside of the titles.
Hype package for Page & Moxley. They had plenty to work with here & the result was very good.
Jack Perry promo. He wants to ‘end’ Christian. There are going to be ‘grave consequences’ as he gives Cage a chance to meet his dad.
Sorry, don’t believe you. You couldn’t even hit him with a chair last week.
They’re now billing this as a ‘Final Burial’ (someone laughed backstage when they came up with that) match. In typical AEW fashion not explaining at all what that means.
Riho vs Emi Sakura
Riho got her usual nice pop way out of whack with how often she’s used. JR really put over Sakura for her match with Hayter.
Trainer and trainee got to it, Sakura cackling after launching a chop in the ropes as the crowd chanted for Riho. A vicious hair-mare followed, Riho being choked in the corner via Sakura’s boot then dumped on her back after being caught in mid-air.
But bridging up to avoid the pin, shotgun dropkick, running knee in the corner, northern lights, count of two.
An irish whip reversed, Riho got her boot up in the corner then deposited Sakura outside via headscissors, taking to the sky, or about to when Sakura spoiled the fun by backing away. A charging Riho then snatched into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and absolutely crushed against the barricade via running cross-body splash.
Very good so far.
Firing shots, Riho fought up from her knees but was brushed aside by the vet. Though avoided a lariat via cartwheel: drop toe hold, 619, to the top, diving cross body for two. But saw an attempted suplex countered into a reverse ddt and was again crushed via body splash.
Count of two for Sakura.
Riho responded with two near falls of her own via quick roll-up as the two wrestled fluidly and quickly in and out of pinfalls, Riho kicking out of the last in the closest thing to three I might have ever seen.
A leaping knee-strike was immediately countered by a Sakura lariat. The vet headed up top, coming off with a tired-looking moonsault which caught Riho when it wasn’t meant to.
The latter missed a diving foot stomp but came back by weaving her way around Sakura like a hula hoop, down into a cradle to snag the win.
In what’s becoming a theme, I’d be shocked if the women’s match Sunday can MC Hammer this. Same for the crowd reaction unless Hayter is victorious.
Package for the women’s match Sunday. Soho put herself across as the underdog who shouldn’t even be here, Saraya as the natural who was born to be here and Hayter as the proud champ who ‘hits hard.’
Powerhouse Hobbs vs Serpentico
Hobbs better hope they come to his home-state more often since the company actually remember he exists.
Inverted DVD in under a minute. Clutching his brass ring, Hobbs vowed that it didn’t matter who wins the TNT title Sunday, him taking it is the next chapter in the Book of Hobbs.
The whole ‘brass ring’ thing is another example of AEW not knowing when to leave the comedy out. Sure it’s a nice, snarky in-joke but it looks stupid and anyone flipping channels would wonder why Hobbs was walking round with a swimming aid.
WINNER: Powerhouse Hobbs
Renee with Takeshita. Who isn’t happy because he’s not winning enough. ‘Maybe I need to go back to Japan’ (the entire crowd responded as if they’d simultaneously been given the most terrible news).
Just as the used car salesman himself, Don Callis, appeared. Pleading with Takeshita to give him a little time to help him before deciding to return to his home country.
‘It’s not a bad idea.’ Said JR. Can we please help the heels be heels!
Mark Briscoe promo. He woke up from a nap last week and saw a tag team battle royale going on and raced out to help his brother. Only to remember he wasn’t there.
But did see that ‘prick’ Mark Sterling. And a couple ‘hermanos’, which warmed his heart.
Enter the Lucha Bro’s. Who have their friend’s back as they challenged Sterling and co. for Sunday. They all did the ‘Cero Miedo’ as it was announced the trio would face Nese, Daivari & Josh Woods during Zero Hour before the ppv.
And the theme continues. Hard to imagine many acts getting a better reaction than the babyface trio come Sunday.
They should show this promo to any babyface who wants to humanize themselves and connect with the crowd.
They then ran down the Revolution card. None of which got the same reaction as Takeshita’s pledge to return home.
And honestly, the visual of the competitors for the tag titles looked like a spoof promo for a bad new tv show.
Dustin Rhodes & Keith Lee vs Swerve Strickland & Parker Boudreaux
Backstory: Swerve & goons took out Lee with a cinder block & were about to do the same to Rhodes till Lee made the save
Lee now wears a cape with a hood. Not a great look.
The good guys were attacked while posing, another bad look.
Lee quickly turned the tables, beating Boudreaux in the corner before a silent crowd. Tag to Rhodes, drop-down uppercut, punches in the corner, Boudreaux got one shot in, it seemed like he tagged out, the announcers certainly thought so. Instead, the youngster hit a short-arm clothesline to bring the break.
Hopefully both the crowd and action picks up when Strickland enters.
Wish had been granted as we returned, Swerve eating a snap powerslam from Rhodes, tags to Lee and Boudreaux. Keith smashed the youth in the corner, shook off a few chops then hit a pounce (which Boudreaux just-about got in place for). Thereafter dragging Swerve in over the top, as the announcers finally mentioned the cinderblock attack.
A couple big boots from Swerve were shaken off, the agile Strickland kept avoiding the big man until being snatched out of the air and drilled to the mat via basically a one-armed chokeslam out of a flapjack.
Swerve bailed to the apron, Lee hooked him in a suplex position, Boudreaux was late but eventually low-blowed the big man, flung Rhodes to the floor, then held Lee in place so Swerve could spring off his chest into a moonsault on Rhodes.
Strickland came up clutching his wrist after a nasty spill.
Leaving Boudreaux and Lee. Boudreaux sauntered across the ring (can’t say ran because he didn’t) to hit an incredibly weak glancing kick to Lee’s head. Then positioned Lee for the Swerve Stomp, Lee kicked out. The crowd barely cared. Almost no reaction.
Dustin came back in to bulldog Boudreaux, was blasted with Swerve’s running back-kick, Lee took out Boudreaux via cross body only to be caught in Strickland’s rolling flatliner (If you imagine the spots in the Bucks’ matches where everybody takes out everybody but play it at 0.1 speed, you’ll about have the picture).
Rhodes then nailed Swerve via destroyer to wake the crowd, before Lee tossed Rhodes onto Boudreaux, the experienced vet using all his tricks to get the crowd going. And they did respond. He then flung Boudreaux in to eat Lee’s Jackhammer and the pinfall.
This was good when Swerve was in by himself; bad and slow whenever Boudreaux was in there with anyone. Saw absolutely nothing in the youngster. Nor did the crowd.
WINNER: Naturally Limitless
Jericho was promo-ing on Starks as the show closed when Ricky appeared behind him, ribs wrapped, attacking Jericho as a bunch of guys separated the pair.
Added to Zero Hour:
- Lucha Bros & Mark Briscoe vs Varsity Athletes & Ari Daivari
Don’t know if it’s because expectations are lower or because an hour’s easier to digest but I’ve enjoyed Rampage more than Dynamite the last two weeks. The main event ended the show on a flat note but the prior action was very good.
And unlike the Rampage preceding Full Gear, this actually felt connected to the rest of the AEW ‘Universe’ as they promo’d the pay-per-view throughout.
- The four-way tag (That’s the last time you’ll hear those words this weekend)
- Riho vs Emi Sakura
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend and enjoy Revolution if you’re watching!