The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 09.03.21
Live from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Excalibur, Tazz, Mark Henry & Chris Jericho
Malakai Black v. Lee Johnson
Lee is looking pretty panicked, in a nice bit of acting. Lee grabs a headlock and Black immediately swings for the fences with the Black Mass, but Johnson escapes it. Lee stays away and then comes in with a shot to the back, and the crowd immediately chants “You fucked up” while Black stares daggers at him. Black puts him down with a back elbow and puts the boots to him in the corner as we take a break for all you suckers without AEW Plus on Fite. Actually I might start watching Dynamite on Fite as well since I’m paying for it. Black goes to a chinlock and then transitions to a double wristlock and then a sleeper. Johnson tries to suplex out but Black hangs on. Johnson flips out of it and runs Black into the corner to escape, and comes back with a dropkick to put Black on the floor. Lee follows with a suicide dive and comes in with a frog splash, but Black nails him with a head kick and Johnson is knocked loopy. Black puts the boots to him in the corner and slugs away viciously before retrieving a chair from under the ring. Black teases it for a bit and then offers the chair to Johnson to fight back and offers him a free shot. So Lee fights up dramatically, readies the chair, and before he can make his decision, Black just unloads with Black Mass and pins him at 10:00. Little long for what it was but the finish was awesome. ***
Meanwhile, Dustin Rhodes chats with Mark Henry about what he just saw, and announces he’s next on the Black hitlist and they shall meet on Dynamite.
God’s Favorite Champion Miro joins us for a word, and although Eddie Kingston took a “charity contract” into AEW and Miro isn’t into charity. So Miro accuses Eddie of hiding behind Jon Moxley, and that brings Eddie out, denying the existence of Miro’s God and calling him a sinner. Also he knows all of Miro’s weaknesses and all his moves target them. Miro promises to redeem him tonight and Eddie quips “REDEEM DEEZ NUTS” and attacks, and that goes badly for him. Miro tries to stomp the TNT title into Eddie’s face, but Eddie fights back with a backfist and leaves him laying instead. Good stuff here.
Rebel & Jamie Hayter v. Kris Statlander
Someone on Twitter pointed out that Hayter’s butt looks like a Rey Mysterio mask and now I can’t unsee it. Hayter works a headlock on Statlander to start and takes her to the heel corner for some double-teaming with Rebel. Rebel with a drop suplex for two. She does some Yes kicks, but Statlander no-sells them and slams Hayter onto Rebel before running wild with corner clotheslines on both of them. Senton on Rebel gets two. Hayter charges and lands on the floor, and Rebel misses a charge, allowing Statlander to put her in an electric chair and then slam Hayter at the same time in an amazing power spot. Rollup gets two on Rebel and Statlander wraps her up in a double arm submission at 4:10. Total destruction for Statlander here. *1/2 The heels all try to go after her, but Red Velvet makes the save (and still gets booed by Chicago).
Last week: The Lucha Bros beat the Jurassic Express to win a tag team title shot at All Out.
Meanwhile, we get the split screen interview with Darby and Daniel Garcia in advance of the main event.
Darby Allin v. Daniel Garcia
CM Punk joins us on commentary for this one and again draws a monster reaction. They slug it out to start and Darby takes him down and pounds away, and they fight to the floor, where Darby charges him and goes ass over teakettle onto a ringside table. Sting takes care of 2.0 by himself, but Garcia runs Darby into the stairs and puts the boots to him in the ring. Darby reverses him to an armbar and Garcia bails to escape, but Darby follows and rams the arm into the stairs. Back in, Garcia catches him with a cheapshot and goes to a surfboard while using a chain to choke him out, but Darby escapes that and goes up. Garcia cuts him off and brings him down with a superplex as we take a break. Well not me. They fight to the floor and Garcia runs him into the railing and back into the ring while talking shit to CM Punk at the commentary table. That’s a little presumptuous on his part. Garcia takes Darby down with a wristlock and puts the boots to him before chopping him down. Darby fights back with a boot out of the corner and tries a charge, but Garcia catches him in a rear naked choke and lifts him on the middle rope. Darby breaks free from that, but Garcia catches him in another one. So Darby carries him up the ropes and brings him down with a Coffin Drop to break free. He slugs back to make the comeback and puts him down with Punk’s Pepsi Twist clothesline. Backslide gets two. Code Red gets two and Punk jokes about all the moves being named after soda. And Darby gets the cradle to finish at 10:40, at which point 2.0 charges in and starts the beatdown. Sting gets distracted by Garcia, so Punk takes matters into his own hands, allowing Darby to make the comeback and we do the staredown to set up the PPV and end the show. ***1/4
Another easy to watch hour that did a good job of setting up All Out and concentrated on some of the non-Elite matches that didn’t get screen-time on Dynamite, which is exactly what this kind of show is best used for.