The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 10.01.21
Taped from Rochester, NY, although tonight I am GREEK. OPA! Baklava, anyone?
Your hosts are Excalibur and Taz
Bryan Danielson v. Nick Jackson
They trade headlocks to start and Nick gets the first kick and then bails to the floor for some cold spray. “You don’t want to tighten up a lat. Or an armpit” notes Taz. Back in, Bryan gets a missile dropkick and beats on Nick before taking him down and once again reminding the referee that HE HAS UNTIL FIVE. Romero Special turns into a dragon sleeper, so Nick rakes the eyes to escape and comes back with a rebound lariat. Nick tries a springboard while the crowd does a REALLY involved chant, but Bryan takes him down into an armbar and then beats the hell out of him with forearms on the ropes. Bryan with a backdrop suplex for two off that. Bryan uses some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION and just torques the arm at an angle it’s not supposed to go, but Nick fights out in the corner. And then Bryan just wallops him with chops to end that rally. Nick fights back with his own kicks and flips into the armdrag, but he charges and misses. And then Danielson does as well, which allows Nick to toss him and take over. We take a break as Matt spears Bryan on the floor, although here in Greece we stay with the match. Opa! Nick hits the double axehandle to the floor and gives us some Jay Lethal impersonation before going to work again back in the ring. Nick with the Nash choke in the corner and he also has until five, apparently. Nick gets his own round kicks and this proves to be a dumb idea but he keeps doing it anyway. So Bryan just absorbs the kicks and asks for more, and then finally he’s had enough and SPITS on Nick before beating the crap out of him to come back. Running clothesline and it’s time for the WWE Intellectual Property Kicks, which puts Nick down for two. Bryan with the running knees to the corner, but he walks into a superkick and Nick gets two. Nick goes up and tries a 450, but Bryan catches him in the WWE Intellectual Property Lock and Nick has to make the ropes. Nick bails to the apron, so Bryan beats on him with kicks out there, but accidentally kicks the post and Nick superkicks him and adds a german suplex on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Nick comes off the top with a dive and back in for the Sharpshooter in the middle, but Bryan makes the ropes and heads to the floor. Cutler tries to interfere and Nick kicks him in the face by accident, allowing Bryan to fight back with a german suplex on the floor. Back in, Nick rolls him up for two but misses a superkick, and Daniel gets a tiger suplex for two and then hangs on for a double arm submission while beating on Nick with elbows. And then he turns THAT into Cattle Mutilation and Nick taps at 15:39! What a finish that was! ****1/4 The Elite hit the ring and try for a beatdown, but the Jurassic Express saves and we get double submissions from Jungle Boy and Bryan on Omega and Cole and the heels tap. Great opening segment.
Meanwhile, Powerhouse Hobbs and Hook throw to a video of Ricky Starks, who is driving around Vegas looking cool in search of Brian Cage. I think we should just forget about that feud and be done with it.
Meanwhile, CM Punk talks about how happy he is to be back. I’m happy he’s back to his normal trunks again because those long ones were weirding me out.
Jade Cargill v. Nyla Rose v. Thunder Rosa
Ricky Starks joins us on commentary and clarifies that he bet all his money on Jade to win the Casino Battle Royale and lost it all, but won it back later. Whew. Rosa throws kicks on both to start and gets into a slugfest with Nyla, but she tries a bodypress on Nyla and gets slammed. Nyla and Jade slug it out next and Jade puts her down with a pump kick and clotheslines her to the floor. Rosa comes back with a missile dropkick and we take a break. Back with Rosa dropkicking a trashcan into Jade as this seems to have gone in a different direction. Nyla breaks it up and puts Jade down with a neckbreaker before putting her in a half-crab, but Rosa saves with a dropkick and gets two on Nyla. Rosa tries a dropkick in the corner and misses, allowing Nyla to set up a powerbomb off the apron, but Rosa reverses to her own powerbomb through a conveniently placed table and they’re both out. Back in, Jade beats on Rosa with a chair in wholly unconvincing manner and pins her at 9:29. Felt like most of the match happened during the break and what we got wasn’t particularly great. Jade Cargill just isn’t ready for this level yet. **1/2
Meanwhile, Malakai Black is hopeful that his black mist went into all of Cody’s nooks and crannies and festers there. I hate when I get primeval hate into my nooks and crannies.
Hair v. Hair: Orange Cassidy v. Jack Evans
The pre-match promos are delightful as always, as Matt deflects all the blame for everything on Evans. Orange: “What is this? What am I doing?” Mark Henry informs him that if he loses he gets his head shaved. “Oh. Well I guess I’m not gonna lose then.” You can’t argue with that logic. Come on, this is all so goofy you have to love it. And then Ricky immediately bets all his money on Jack Evans, and Taz has to remind him that betting on pro wrestling matches is a bad idea. Evans gets a rollup for two, but Orange rolls into the kicks and really lays them in. Backslide gets two. We get a wacky spot with Orange spinning Evans around by the ponytail, but Big Money Matt attacks Orange on the outside and Evans adds a flying kick from the apron to take over. 450 to the floor and we take a break for the non-Grecian countries while Evans allows the count and Orange beats it at 9. Meanwhile, Starks is busting on the CANADIAN TUXEDO. HEY NOW. Nothing wrong with a good jean jacket, JERK. Evans tries for a suplex and they fight over that, but Evans goes with the small package for two instead. Evans puts him down with a kick for two and follows with a handspring elbow while Matt tries to get a chant going for Evans and fails miserably. So instead he puts the boots to Orange outside, and back in for another handspring from Evans that Orange reverses into a backdrop to the floor. He follows with a pair of dives onto the heels and back in for a flying bodypress, but Evans rolls through for two. Standing moonsault misses and Orange comes back with his DDT, but Evans reverses into a northern lights suplex and Michinoku Driver for two. Standing moonsault gets two. Jack goes up and misses the Phoenix splash, but that misses and Orange rolls up into the tornado DDT. Orange goes up with another DDT, from the top, but that gets two. So Matt retrieves his people, but the Best Friends block the ring, along with the Dark Order, and the Orange Punch finishes at 8:53. And of course, Matt Hardy abandons Evans for the greater good and Jack Evans gets shaved, albeit in a pretty half-assed way. I mean, I guess that’s in character for Orange. And then -1 inspires the Dark Order to have a big hug to end the show. ***
A very fun show with a great opener and a wacky main event makes for a solid thumbs up from here.