The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 10.15.21
Part of me wanted to troll everyone by reviewing Smackdown instead tonight, but then I’d just be punishing myself.
Live from Miami, FL
Your hosts are Excalibur, Taz & Ricky Starks
Tay Conti v. Santana Garrett
Tay takes Santana down with some judo throws, but Garrett comes back with armdrags until Tay blocks and they’re at a stalemate. Tay rolls her into a kneebar and then goes up for some tumbling and a knee to the face for two. Garrett tries a rollup and Tay blocks it, so Santana slugs her into the corner and follows with a handspring elbow and snap suplex for two. She bridges into a Muta Lock, but Tay escapes and comes back with a facebuster, but misses a pump kick and Garrett rolls her up for two. Tay with the pump kick on the second try and the DDTay gets the pin at 4:41. Wow, that’s like two Queen’s Crown matches put together! Match was OK, Tay is adorable as ever. **
Meanwhile, we take a look at Dan Lambert’s team of douchebags and the Inner Circle.
Bobby Fish v. Lee Moriarty
Fish has a pretty rockin’ theme song. I thought maybe TK would license some Phish for him, though. Fish takes him down and goes for a kneebar to start, but Lee switches to a choke and then goes to work on the arm. Fish escapes that, so Moriarty kicks the elbow and goes back to it again. Is it me or is Fish someone who looks more like a Moriarty? Maybe they should trade names. Fish takes him down with a dragon screw for two and slingshots into a senton for two. Snap suplex gets two. Fish goes to a top wristlock and Moriarty fights back to escape, clotheslining him out of the corner and then going after the elbow again before hitting a back elbow. Lee with a jumping double stomp for two, but they get into a slugfest and Fish wins that before hitting a backdrop driver for two. Moriarty fights back again and then kicks the elbow yet again and hits his own throw for two. Fish reverses a suplex into a sleeper and then hits a high knee for two. So he pounds Moriarty with knees and then hits a sick exploder into the ropes, bouncing him off and into a head kick to finish at 8:00. Hell of a match here with some cool mat wrestling and submissions. ***1/4
Minoru Suzuki v. Bryan Danielson
Right on cue, the crowd chants “Holy shit” before they even touch. They do the test of strength and Suzuki immediately wins that battle, but Bryan works for an armbar and this crowd is INSANELY jacked. Suzuki reverses to an abdominal stretch and Bryan reverses to a kneebar and Suzuki makes the ropes. Bryan goes for the leg, but Suzuki blocks him, so Bryan kicks the leg out of his leg, very hard. So that just annoys Suzuki and they decide to trade strikes. That’s like the exact opposite of Orange Cassidy’s strikes. I love that the crowd knows to go silent before each one. And then Suzuki just calmly winds up and KNOCKS HIM OUT with a forearm. Holy shit. Luckily is somehow still alive after that, and then he gets all pissed off and beats on Suzuki until he makes the ropes. But Suzuki suckers him in for a hanging armbar in the ropes and they fight to the floor, where Suzuki kicks his ass some more. Back in, Bryan fights back, so Suzuki just knees him in the face and goes to a surfboard, tying him up on the mat, but Bryan sends him to the floor and runs him into the post. Knee off the apron follows. Back in, Bryan starts beating on him with kicks, but much Obi Wan, striking him down ONLY MAKES HIM STRONGER. So Bryan goes to CATTLE MUTILATION instead and then rolls him over for two because a submission ain’t happening. Bryan beats on him with kicks in the corner and hits the running dropkick in the corner, but Suzuki still won’t go down. And in fact he hits Bryan with his own corner kick and then a PK, but Bryan is fired up now and won’t go down either. THESE ARE REAL MEN. Third one and this time Danielson stays down, so Suzuki gets two. Bryan fights up again and they trade forearms, but Suzuki takes him down for the Fujiwara armbar and Bryan has to make the ropes. Suzuki respectfully pulls the ref out of the way and goes to finish Bryan off, but he walks into the WWE Intellectual Property Lock. He’s too stubborn to let Bryan lock it in and rolls him over into the ropes to escape. So now he’s good and warmed up and they trade forearms again, and this time Suzuki gives him a free shot because he LAUGHS at Danielson’s weak, womanly shots. And Bryan lays them in, but Suzuki puts him down. So Bryan is back up and hits him harder, and this time they both go down and even the ref is losing his mind. Taz: “If you’re watching something else on TV and not this, you’re dumb as a bag of rocks!” Indeed. They trade more forearms and this is like Christmas for Suzuki and they just yell at each other in primal screams, but Suzuki catches him with the sleeper, but Bryan takes him down. Suzuki with the Gotch piledriver, but Bryan backdrops out and hits the running knee for the pin at 19:18. Three words: HO LEE SHIT. ****1/2
OK, and with that taken care of, let’s head to Iceland for AEW Rampage!
CM Punk v. Matt Sydal
Punk takes him down with a headlock to start and Matt grabs the arm and reverses to his own headlock, and a crucifix gets two. Punk rolls him up for two and gets a pair of bodyslams, but Sydal lays him out to block a third one, as Punk was listening to the crowd and they “stooged him out” according to Taz. Sydal hits the Lightning Spiral for two and stops Punk’s comeback attempt with a leg lariat before hitting a sliding knee into the corner to put him down again. They head to the apron and Punk slams him out there, on the HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Back in, Punk slingshots in with a senton for two, and now the crowd wants a GTS. Punk hangs him in the Tree of Woe, but misses a dropkick and Sydal fights back and they slug it out on the top. Both guys bump to the floor after teasing a double suplex spot and they both beat the count back in. They trade kicks and Punk tries a suplex, but Sydal escapes that and hits a knee to the head for two. Sydal tries another Lightning Spiral, but Punk blocks it and hits a running knee into the corner and lariat for two. Punk goes up and Sydal brings him down with a rana for two. Sydal bends his leg in uncomfortable ways, but Punk reverses to the Anaconda Vice and Sydal makes the ropes. Sydal ducks the Pepsi Twist and lays him out with a high kick, and then follows with the Lightning Spiral for a very close two. So Sydal goes up to finish but misses, and then Punk reverses a crucifix into the GTS for the pin at 14:51. The proverbial skin of the teeth victory for Punk there. Punk as the grizzled gunslinger is a very interesting character turn for him. ***1/2
Ruby Soho v. The Bunny
Ruby takes her down with armdrags to start while Taz notes that Ruby has heat with him because of her orange hair. He must hate Orange Cassidy then. Ruby with a knee strike for two and they trade elbows, and Bunny hits a kneelift to put her down. Bunny puts her into the corner and dropkicks the neck for two, but Ruby takes her down and goes up, only for Bunny to sweep the leg and bring her down again on the neck. And we take a break, although not here in Iceland. Too cold for commercials. Bunny keeps beating on Ruby in the corner, but she fights back with elbows in the other corner. So Bunny hiptosses her and chokes her out while Taz makes fun of Starks’ foray into clichés. Bunny with a clothesline for two. We return from break as Ruby makes the comeback. She goes up and Bunny brings her down with a german suplex for two, but Ruby gets a backslide to finish at 9:53. Well this was a match. I like Ruby’s newfound enthusiasm but she hasn’t really delivered very much in the ring thus far. *1/2 And then Penelope Ford joins in for a beatdown, knocking Ruby out with the dreaded brass knuckles.
Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara & Jake Hager v. Junior Dos Santos, Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page
Sammy trades some stuff with Sky to start and it’s over to Junior, who manages to beat Jericho down in the corner. Jake comes in and they do a little boxing, and Junior wins that battle as well. So Hager takes him down with a double leg and pounds away on the mat, but Junior hits him with a kneelift and it’s back to Sky. Jericho decides to go mouth off to Masvidal, which is probably a bad idea on its face, and that allows Page to lay him out from behind and ATT beats on Jericho on the floor as we take a break. But not me. Back in the ring, Page puts the boots to Jericho and Junior comes in for some more boxing on Jericho, and Lambert adds a cheapshot from the floor for good measure. Jericho tries the Walls and Page flips out of that and beats Jericho down some more. But then he shows his dimples and Jericho comes back with chops until Page pokes him in the eye to take over again. Sky chokes him out on the ropes and they head up to the top, but Jericho blocks a superplex and hits a crossbody for two. Back to Junior and he beats on Jericho for two, but Page comes in and walks into an enzuigiri from Jericho and it’s hot tag Sammy. The crowd was dying for that one. Sammy with a double jump springboard into a cutter on Sky, and a running shooting star gets two. Sammy is just an incredible babyface. Back to Jericho and he hits the double sledge and Lionsault on Sky for two, but Page makes the save. Junior brawls with Hager on the floor, kicking his ass, but Hager comes back with a uranage through the ringside table in a spot I wasn’t expecting to see. Back in the ring, Jericho and Sky trade forearms, but Sky reverses a codebreaker into a TKO attempt, which Jericho turns into the Walls. This brings Paige Van Zant in to distract the ref, and Jorge Masvidal comes in with the KNEE STRIKE OF DOOM to finish Jericho at 11:33. A rock solid six-man with just the right use of Junior Dos Santos. ***1/4 Paige is really getting this heel thing down cold. And then ATT lays out Jericho and beats him down, but Santana and Ortiz make the save and we’re out.
Damn fine two hours of wrestling right there. Damn fine.