The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 06.17.22
I was going to review Smackdown, but then I heard about how it started and decided that AEW gets my time instead.
Taped from St. Louis, MO
Your hosts are Excalibur, Taz, William Regal & Chris Jericho.
Jon Moxley v. Dante Martin
Jericho clarifies the Blackpool situation, in that Blackpool is a dump and everyone from there is a stupid idiot. Regal in turn is “vexed” that Jericho didn’t end up with a bald head, and calls him a “trout slapper.” That sounds pretty bad. I know would not want to be accused of slapping trout. Excalibur: “He also called you a water ponce.” They do the test of strength and trade wristlocks to start, and Moxley gets the headlock on the mat. Regal notes that the point of the club is to get wrestlers to learn their trade, whether they like it or not. Dante takes him down with a rana and fires kicks at the legs, and a shotgun dropkick puts Moxley on the floor. Dante teases a dive and backs off, like a hypothetical CEO teasing a major appearance on a national TV show and then trolling everyone instead, and he lets Moxley back in the ring. They trade chops and that goes badly for Dante, followed by Moxley running him into the corner and hitting a backbreaker for two. Regal is a bad fan of using the ring as a weapon, like the metal of the turnbuckles, because you want to RAM your opponent into them instead of gentling running them into the soft pads. Moxley takes him to the apron for a neckbreaker, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING according to Jericho. Taz: “it’s really not, the ringposts are.” Jericho: “Well why don’t you and Regal just go off and kiss or something!” Back in the ring, Moxley with a cloverleaf that he turns into a Regal stretch. Regal: “I believe I invented that move.” Knee strike gets two. Moxley goes up and Dante brings him down with a rana, but he goes up and Moxley brings him down with a butterfly suplex for two. Moxley with the hammer elbows, but Dante pops up with a headscissor takedown to put Moxley on the floor, and Dante follows with a dive. Back in, Dante with a flying bodypress for two. They fight to the apron again and Dante misses the moonsault, allowing Moxley to hook him in the choke. Dante walks the ropes to break it, but he gets caught up there and then turns it around into a Sliced Bread for two. They slug it out and Moxley tries the DDT, but Dante flips out of it, so Mox hits him with a cutter instead. Dante gets a sunset flip for two, but he walks into a giant lariat for two. Regal clarifies the difference: A clothesline knocks somebody down, and a lariat knocks somebody out. And instead, Moxley locks in the choke and finishes at 12:04. Heck of an effort from Dante here. ****1/4
Meanwhile, Keith Lee and Swerve chat with Tony, and Keith gives Swerve 30 seconds to explain himself. Swerve claims that it was a singles situation in the battle royale, but Keith isn’t buying.
Meanwhile, the Death Triangle have words that I don’t understand. Pac needs to come with subtitles.
Max Caster & The Gunn Clubb v. Leon Ruff & Bear Country
Max had stuff he wanted to say, but had to sign an NDA. Lot of that going around this week. The Gunns clear the ring to start and have a SCISSOR PARTY, then triple team Ruff and Max drops the mic for the pin at 1:15.
Meanwhile, Hook is unexcited by the thought of facing a dojo prospect next week, and he doesn’t need any help-hausen.
TBS title: Jade Cargill v. Willow Nightingale
Jade is also Chris Jericho’s Sports Entertainer of the Week, in addition to being TBS champion. Willow evades Jade to start, but Jade catches her in a fireman’s carry and Willow reverses to a sunset flip for two. Pounce misses and Jade kicks her in the face and puts her on the floor for some shots from Kiera. Back in the ring, Jade tosses her again and they fight out here, but Willow manages to run Jade into the railing. Back in the ring, Jade puts the boots to Willow and follows with a corner elbow, but Willow fights back with chops. Willow goes up with a missile dropkick for two. Willow makes the comeback with the cannonball in the corner for two, but Jade reverses a gutwrench into a Pedigree and finishes with Jaded at 6:00 to retain. Just the right length for Jade to continue looking good. **1/2 This brings out Athena to save Willow from a further beatdown, but Jade takes her out as well, so Statlander also has to save.
As expected, they announce that Forbidden Door will have a three-way match for the ROH and IWGP titles with FTR v. the Empire v. Roppongi Vice, which hopefully means FTR wins to set up a winner take all match with the Bucks at All Out.
Darby Allin v. Bobby Fish
Darby promises to break Fish’s leg by the end of the night. Huge if true. Fish attacks from behind to start and beats on him with leg kicks, and then sends him to the floor and runs him into the apron, which may or may not be the HARDEST PART OF THE RING based on who you believe this week. Darby clips the knee in response and dives onto him with a pescado. Back in, Fish gets a backbreaker, but he misses a moonsault and Darby sends him to the floor for a tope suicida. So Fish takes him into the railing with a dragon screw, which slams his head into it as a bonus. Back in, Fish with a slingshot senton and a snapmare for two. Sliding lariat gets two, and Fish puts the boots to him, but he stops to pose on the apron and Darby goes for the eyes. Fish puts him down again with a snap suplex for two, but another one is reversed into an inverted DDT in mid-air. Darby with a Code Red for two. Fish bails to the floor and Darby hits him with a coffin drop out there, but they head to the apron and Fish spears him out to the floor again. Fish keeps working on Darby’s knee and they slug it out on the apron, where Fish gets an anklelock and then follows with a german suplex to the floor. Back in the ring, they fight to the top and Bobby brings him down with a falcon arrow off the top for two, and then transitions right to an anklelock. And Darby reverses THAT to the Last Supper for the pin at 11:55. Fish and O’Reilly take him out for the beatdown afterwards, but Sting makes his return after a lights out and takes out Kyle. Which leaves Darby to Pillmanize Fish and get some revenge to end the show. Match took a bit to get going but Darby bumps like a maniac as usual and it ended up solid. ***
Three good matches on this week’s show make for an easy watch.