AEW Rampage tonight comes to us from the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PI. After last week drawing 639,000 & a 0.21 in the 18-49 demo. With a little help from the NBA, that’s the biggest audience since September 2021 & the largest demo in a year.
Jon Moxley vs Christopher Daniels
Backstory: Presumably they’ll say CD is friends with the Elite even though the last thing we saw was the Bucks breaking up he and Kazarian
Straight to the ring as usual, the two circled warily as the fans chanted for Mox. Exchanging hammerlocks, into a headlock as Excalibur indeed brought up the Elite’s history with Daniels – including the Bucks breaking up he and Kazarian. Fair enough.
Maintaining the headlock for a while, Moxley knocked the vet down with his shoulder as they also discussed the Bucks giving CD that nasty-looking eye. But that Mox would still relish beating someone attached to the Elite. Pretty thin storytelling.
A drop toe hold into a headlock of his own saw Daniels respond, same again as the crowd were quiet in the early going. A knee to the gut later, the pair exchanged chops, Mox hit an elbow strike, the vet came back with a leg lariat before catapulting Mox outside, diving off the apron via elbow strike before rushing in and eating a back body drop onto the ringside mats.
Then being dropped across the steps.
Still on top, Mox raked at the back, the only thing I really don’t like about the former champ. Danielson fought off a superplex, coming off the top via cross body for two. Then again via backslide.
And another after slipping out of a choke into a cradle. But Mox popped up to strike via KKL and a piledriver for two, right into the Bulldog. Up into the Deathrider, Daniels body-dropped his way out then came off the middle rope via flatliner, the crowd getting into what’s been a good opener.
Angel’s Wings, right in the middle, Daniels slow to cover for only two. Appreciate that Moxley’s showing respect to the vet but there are about five people in the entire company who should get anything close to a visual pin on him.
Moxley bit his way into another choke, Daniels trying the same cradle counter as before, Mox adjusting right into H&A elbows, the Bulldog, Daniels fought to his feet, Mox synched in a tighter grip as the vet went night night.
Really enjoyed this: nice back-and-forth and a simple story of Mox adjusting to the vet’s counters. Daniels still moves incredibly for his age.
Interestingly, the former champ not only didn’t keep the hold longer than necessary but offered a respectful handshake afterward.
Winner: Jon Moxley
Mark Sterling promo’d on Jade’s behalf since she was getting her makeup done. Nice touch. Sterling then revealed Wednesday’s match contract stipulates that if Taya uses Jaded/Road to Valhalla, she’ll be dq’d. Also acknowledging that he’s ‘said this before’ but insisting it really was the case this time.
Outside of the inconsistency re: that move, this remains Jade’s most interesting program to date. Not that the list would require a door-man.
Hook came out before Isiah and the Hardys. The commentators going on and on about what great ‘inspirations’ the Hardys were to both Hook & Isiah was a little much.
Jeff got a ‘welcome back’ chant, teased retiring but said he was retiring from ‘screwing up’ instead. Actions speak louder…
Matt took the mic as Stokely Hathaway interrupted from the big screen. Demanding to know when Firm Deletion is. Seems ideas were two-for-one this week as the Firm used the video distraction to attack from behind.
Poor Isiah took the brunt of it via Ego’s Edge. The Hardys ran-off the heels with chairs.
As Excalibur moved on to another angle while their music was still playing. Replaying the attack on Britt Baker by the JAS Wednesday.
They then showed about five seconds of Britt being seen to by the doctor as Cole apologized profusely. Before rushing away again.
To a Keith Lee/Dustin Rhodes promo. Lee used lots of syllables to note Swerve had cost him vs Jericho. Dustin said ‘Naturally Limitless’ would ‘descend’ on Rampage next week.
Julia Hart vs Kiera Hogan
Leaving no time for entrances here either. And Julia’s is a big part of her act.
Twice ducking a lockup, Julia slapped Kiera, who avoided a charge in the corner, dropped Hart into the ropes then hit her curb-stomp legdrop for two.
Julia hit back with a kick to the head but ate a couple back-elbow strikes then a running dropkick in the corner for another two.
Lots of crowd chants for Hart, such is the HOB’s popularity.
As she hit a neckbreaker, kip-up, standing moonsault; Kiera countered Hartless but ate a kick to the knee back into Hartless for the tap.
Hart’s character stuff was better here than last time. Her face deliberately expressionless apart from staring the odd hole.
Post-match, Anna Jay ran down to scrap until the refs separated them. Anna’s eyes were still black from the mist which cost her the last they met.
Now if only Malakai and co. could become hot blondes they might get some tv time. Maybe invest in a wig?
Winner: Julia Hart
Christopher Daniels backstage with Lexi. Claudio & Yuta interrupted, about to beat down the vet when Mox prevented it. Until the very dumb Daniels said ‘people were wrong’, that Mox had ‘a little honor’ left. Cue the deserved beatdown.
Mox said they ‘never changed’, ‘everybody else’ did.
I’d thought this was going to be a clever/subtle story of the BCC manipulating Daniels. But no. It was an AEW go-to: these heels just beat down a guy with spurious connections to the babyfaces they’re feuding with even though we haven’t been shown the relationship on tv.
Slight positive – they did for once carry a Dynamite story over to the ‘B show’.
FTR, Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal vs Varsity Athletes & Slim J
Backstory: Mark Briscoe asked FTR & the J’s to team since he’s injured, they reluctantly agreed
FTR got by far the best reaction of anyone other than the Hardys. Schiavone said Tony Khan was ‘very upset’ about MJF’s interference in the Pillars Tournament Weds. Maybe we’ll get a triple threat on Dynamite with Perry back in?
As Mark Briscoe was shown watching backstage.
JR told Jarrett that Jackie Fargo wanted his strut back. If Jeff starts giving away things he stole, there’ll be nothing left.
Inexplicably, this went through an ad break.
After Dax and Jarrett nearly fought, Dax pinned Daivari. Mark Briscoe had to separate the four after. Seems the J’s are in for their second consecutive tag title match at a ppv.
Keep the tag division in your thoughts ladies and gents.
Winner: FTR, Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal
Video package for the main event, highlights of both guys.
Promo from Butcher & Blade promising to kick Omega & Takeshita’s derrieres.
Vikingo vs Dralistico, AAA Mega Title
Dralistico – who has some nice entrance music – struck via tope before Vikingo even reached the ring. The champ then went splat on the ramp as Dralistico avoided a retaliatory dive. Looked like it sucked.
Vikingo struck back with a leaping elbow strike, corkscrew kick to Dralistico’s taped shoulder then a poisonrana. The challenger retaliated quickly via springboard destroyer to bring the break.
Crazy when a move like that is merely a transition.
A Dralistico moonsault from in-to-out brought us back; a springboard codebreaker got two. The pair then slugging it out on the middle rope until a headbutt sent Dralistico to the apron, Vikingo leaping after him into a destroyer. And taking the brunt of the landing.
And it’s never an AEW Party without interference, Rush dragging Vikingo off the apron. Though this time all of LFI were instantly dismissed.
Letting Dralistico bag two via roll-up; Vikingo coming back with another corkscrew kick, to the top: diving foot stomp for two. But was cut-off and left dangling from the middle rope before being rana’d to the outside, landing hard on his back again.
Spectacular. But – and this is very much a me problem – I can’t get into this for worrying about the poor dude’s back. That’s three insanely hard bumps on it already.
‘Fight forever’ the crowd’s verdict. As Dralistico hit La Mistica, arguing with the ref, thinking he had the match won, allowing a back heel-kick, a missile of a running knee strike in the corner and a 630 from the champ in retaining his title.
After which LFI were right back down to attack. The show – very fittingly – rushing off the air.
- Adam Cole promo
- Jade Cargill vs Taya Valkyrie, TBS Title
- Darby Allin vs Sammy Guevara, Final of Four Pillars Tournament
- Dax Harwood vs Jeff Jarrett
- Arn & Wardlow promo
- Tony Khan will speak – this wasn’t advertised as a major announcement or anything so presumably is to do with MJF
- Butcher & Blade vs Kenny Omega & Konosuke Takeshita
- Orange Cassidy vs Bandido, International Title
- Naturally Limitless vs TBA
- Mox vs Daniels
- Dasha’s ring announcing
- Dralistico vs Vikingo
- None of these matches had reasons to be
- Everything was rushed
- Real lack of star power
- Jeff Jarrett was on the show
- The tag division has never felt less important
Have to wonder what the new Saturday show will do to Rampage; tonight’s effort was already an afterthought before it even becomes the ‘C’ show.
Appreciate you reading. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.