The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 04.15.22
Live from Dallas, TX
Your hosts are Excalibur, Taz & Ricky Starks
Bryan Danielson, Wheeler Yuta & Jon Moxley v. The Gunn Clubb
William Regal joins us on commentary, immediately stealing the show with his unruly hair and tales of teaching Yuta to use his chin as a deadly weapon. Austin sweeps the leg on Yuta, but Wheeler takes him down with an armdrag and slugs away on the mat before using SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION on him. Colten comes in and Yuta counters his dropkick into a leglock and beats on him as well. Over to Danielson, who continues torturing son of Gunn with the Romero Special, so Grandpa Gunn himself comes in to teach the whippersnappers a lesson. Billy misses a blind charge and hits the post, and Bryan beats on him with knees before walking into a lariat. The Gunns work him over, but Austin charges and gets run into the turnbuckle, which sets up the hot tag to Moxley and he wipes out all the Gunn children. Corner clothesline on Colten and he hits both Gunns with a double DDT and then nails Billy with a lariat. Yuta comes in with a flying bodypress for two and the Combat Club all hits their finishes, leaving Daddy Gunn all alone with Yuta. So they slug it out and Billy hits the One and Only for two, but Yuta rolls him up with a bridge for the pin at 9:11. They’re just going all in on making Yuta into the featured star here and it’s pretty great. ***1/4
The Butcher v. Barrett Brown
Brown tries a missile dropkick and doesn’t even budge Butcher, who beats on Brown and follows with a corner clothesline. Butcher with a powerbomb to finish at 0:54.
Meanwhile, Dustin Rhodes throws out a dream match challenge to CM Punk for Dynamite, which the crowd boos because it’s not tonight.
Owen Hart Foundation qualifier: Ruby Soho v. Robyn Renegade
Robyn gets some shots in the corner and works the arm, but Ruby slugs back and takes her down with a legsweep. She tries the handstand in the corner, but Renegade boots her down for two and goes to a rear chinlock. Robyn takes her to the corner for some chops, but she takes too long doing the Trish chop and Ruby comes back with her own and a sunset flip for two. Renegade with a backstabber for two. Clothesline gets two and Robyn beats on her before going back to the chinlock. Ruby makes the comeback and runs Renegade into the corner, but the twins make the switch after an eyerake. So Charlette blocks a senton with her knees, but spends a bunch of time talking trash and Ruby hits the riot kick as a result. So Charlette switches out for Robyn again, who rolls up Ruby for two. And then Ruby finishes with the flatliner at 8:27. This was pretty long and didn’t have much heat, but it was mostly OK. **
Texas Death match, AEW World title: Hangman Page v. Adam Cole
We get some chair swinging to start and they fight to the floor, where Page boots the chair back in his face and slugs away on him. Page sends him into the stairs and the table, but Cole escapes a powerbomb and retreats to the railing. So Hangman clotheslines him into the crowd and they head up the stairs, where Page steals a guy’s beer and smashes it into Cole’s head before drinking it. Also some geek in the audience has an “I Beat Elden Ring” sign. What a liar. Back in, Page decides to moonsault a chair onto Cole and puts the boots to him to send him to the floor for a count. Cole is busted open, so Page runs him into the railing and finds a table under the ring. Cole is valiantly trying to get that blood flowing but he’s coagulating too much tonight and it’s an 88 Luger situation. You NEVER go full Luger. Cole escapes a suplex and runs Page into the stairs before bringing a chair into the ring, and putting Page onto that for a BOOM. Back under the ring for a chain while the announcers pretend not to notice the coiled length of barbed wire under there and talk about how they didn’t see anything. Cole tries the chain on the top rope and clotheslines Page with it in a neat spot before setting up the back-to-back chairs, but Page hits Cole with a death valley driver onto them. God I hate that spot. One time watching Million Dollar Baby was enough. Page goes back under the ring for more chairs, but Cole tries the Panama Sunrise and Page reverses it into the Deadeye and Cole has to bail to the floor to beat the count. Page follows with the moonsault, but Cole superkicks him on the way down for a six count. Back in, Panama Sunrise gets an 8 count. They head to the top and Page hits a fallaway slam off the top, launching Cole into the pile of chairs for a closeup shot of his face that looks like he stepped on the world’s worst piece of Lego. So Page sets up a chair and sits Cole onto it, and they sit down and slug it out before exchanging big kicks until Page lands on the apron. Cole lays the badmouth on him and says that he’ll never be Kenny Omega, so Page hits him with a very pissed off Buckshot lariat and uses his belt to tie him to the ropes. And now finally the barbed wire chair comes out, but Page can’t bring himself to do it. So Cole hits him in the nuts, because he IS willing to sink to those depths. So Page has had enough and rips the barbed wire off the chair and wraps it around his fist for a shot to Cole’s head, before wrapping it around Cole’s head and hitting the Deadeye off the apron and through the table. And Cole is down and out at 20:10. This didn’t have the gonzo energy and great finish of the Lance Archer match, but they worked hard and that finally puts Cole to bed as the #1 contender so it’s fine by me. Ironically I say that while wearing the new Adam Cole shirt I got from my AEW crate today but that’s the kind of complex personality us wrestling reviewers can have. ***1/2
Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…this was good, I guess, but not the blowaway show that they were basically promising in the buildup. It’s not anything Hangman is necessarily doing wrong as champion that’s making him feel second-rate, but he just doesn’t feel like the main event guy right now and if they do switch it to CM Punk at Double Or Nothing, it’ll be the right choice.