The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 05.27.22
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On with the show…
Live from Las Vegas, NV
Your hosts are Excalibur, Taz, Ricky Starks and LORD WILLIAM REGAL.
Matt Sydal v. Bryan Danielson
There was a DELIGHTFUL note on Twitter earlier today, talking about how Regal and Danielson show up at 11am every show and hold a wrestling lesson session in the ring, with anyone welcome to take part. Who wouldn’t want to? They trade takedowns to start and plot strategy, and Danielson gets a full nelson and into a backbreaker. Bryan pounds him with forearms and brings the violence, but Sydal hits him with a spinkick and standing moonsault for two. They trade knees while Regal chastises “Mr. Maniac” for his foul language and then tells a story about going to a restaurant for octopus cooked from live, but running into the issue of the creatures reaching out to turn off the gas on the stove. Danielson drops a knee on Sydal for two, but Sydal lands on his feet off a snapmare and hits Bryan with a knee strike and a rana for two. Sydal goes after the (alleged) injured leg with some kicks for two and they fight to the top, but Bryan brings him down and rolls into the half crab. Sydal powers up, but Bryan cranks on him with a heel hook instead and Sydal has to make the ropes. Danielson beats on him with the Intellectual Property Kicks and they go to the top again, but Sydal does an amazing reversal of a suplex into a powerbomb and sunset flip for two. They slug it out with forearms and Sydal backslides him for two and follows with a knee, but Danielson nails him with bu saiku knee and unleashes the hammer elbows before choking him out at 11:03 to finish. All this guy does is put on four star matches. ****1/4
The Young Bucks v. Taylor Rust & Jon Cruz
The Jacksons win the internet by cosplaying as the Hardyz on the way to the ring, complete with GANGREL cameo, and then double down on the awesome nonsense by overlaying a Matt Fact on the entrance. In this case, Matt Jackson apparently came up with the Broken Matt character in a dream. Who couldn’t love these charming assholes? Nick runs through his Jeff Hardy offense on Cruz to start, and then “Matt” comes in for the Whisper in the Wind and goes up with the yodelling legdrop before thinking better of it because the top rope is too high and he’s got bad knees. So they let Rust come in and he gets some offense, but walks into the Superkick Party as they break character. And then the Twist of Fate sets up the swanton bomb at 2:44 to finish. And then they turn on Gangrel! Luckily, the real Hardyz make the save before they can knock out his fangs with the BTE Trigger. And then associate stooge Cutler gets taken out by the Hardyz. The blowoff will likely be a disaster but this was some seven star sports entertainment shenanigans.
Meanwhile, Darby Allin throws out a challenge to Kyle O’Reilly for the PPV in revenge for Sting.
Max Caster v. Dante Martin
Bowens is still out so the Ass Boyz take his place, but both manage get the city wrong. One is a “Las” and the other is “Los”! That’s not even close to the same thing! Thankfully Billy Gunn is there to wheel the real deal out (“SCISSOR ME, DADDY ASS!”) but Dante dives onto everyone while Bowens shrieks in horror. Sadly, Aubrey ejects everyone for literally no reason, and they slug it out in the ring. Caster elbows him down for two and gets a figure-four, but Dante quickly reverses it. Caster goes after the knee and tries a stump puller, but then switches to an armbar instead. Dante tries a springboard and Caster suplexes him for two to block it. Caster stays on the leg and hits a backdrop suplex to set up the MIC DROP, but that misses. Dante comes back with a sunset flip for two and a rollup for two. Dante goes up with a flying bodypress for two, and the double jump moonsault finishes at 6:16. This was a decidedly average match for Dante. **1/4
Meanwhile, we get words from Adam Cole and Samoa Joe in advance of their tournament final. Yeah still don’t care.
The Men of the Year join us, as Dan informs us that if your girlfriend’s CM Punk shirt is two sizes bigger than yours, you’re probably an AEW fan. Well at least you’ve still got a girlfriend. So they unveil the new purple and gold TNT title for Scorpio. But then Tay and Sammy interrupt via the big screen, bringing Kazarian to American Top Team for his first break-in, as they vandalize the place and steal the BMF belt and some assorted UFC belts. So this finally prompts Scorpio to accept the mixed match with Paige Van Zant at Double or Nothing, although if they win, Sammy and Kaz can never challenge for the TNT title again. Good lord how many matches is this PPV going to have? Twelve apparently? And again, WHO AM I SUPPOSED TO CHEER FOR? The obnoxious douchebags breaking into private property and stealing shit? This feud went off the rails weeks ago and they just keep doubling down instead of reading the room and moving onto something else for a while.
Owen Hart Foundation semi-final: Ruby Soho v. Kris Statlander
They trade takedowns to start and Kris elbows her down for two as Excalibur FINALLY informs us that there’s a trophy for the winner. THANK YOU! At least that’s something. Statlander puts Ruby down with a clothesline and follows with a delayed suplex, which is delayed so long they should call it the Cyberpunk 2077. That gets two. Statlander goes to a chinlock and Ruby fights out of that, so Statlander slams her and follows with a splash for two. Starks takes the time to clarify that he knows the name of all the referees, as well as some other people who work in AEW, because he cares about the little people. Apparently one of them is named John. Ruby fights back with a suplex but can’t make the cover, and they slug it out, but Ruby tries a DDT and Statlander counters into a powerslam for two. Kris powers her up to the top and Ruby counters with a rana from the top, but another rana is countered by Statlander into a powerbomb for two. Kris tries a press slam and Ruby slides out of that and hits the Riot Kick, but Kris falls to the floor while selling it. So they fight out there and Ruby gets a rana from the apron and comes back in with an armbar takedown on Kris, setting up a hammerlock. Statlander makes the ropes and Ruby tries a poison rana in the corner, but Kris rams her into the turnbuckle and hits the german suplex and falcon arrow for two. Short clothesline sets up the spider crab, but Ruby boots out of that and gets the Oklahoma roll for the pin to advance to the finals at 10:10. And the crowd boos that out of the building! And then Ruby does a promo on Britt and they boo that out of the building as well, to the point where Ruby gets all flustered. Well that one turned into a bit of a disaster, mostly because Statlander looked awesome there and the crowd was ready to explode for a win off the falcon arrow. Par for the course with this tournament, I guess. A tremendous match, though! ***1/2
Two great matches and some primo Young Bucks wackiness makes this a pretty easy thumbs up.