The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 08.26.22
By Scott Keith on 27th August 2022
The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 08.26.22
Holy cow can we talk about AEW Fight Forever and how it might be an all-timer if they can manage to pull off the No Mercy control scheme and button mash pinfall escapes?
Taped from Cleveland, OH
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur & Chris Jericho
Trios tournament quarter-final: The Dark Order v. The House of Black
So oddly, after Dynamite featured a “mystery partner” graphic for the Dark Order, it just turns out to be 10. Brody King exchanges power moves with 10, and Buddy comes in to slug it out with John Silver and they fight to a stalemate. Reynolds comes in with a backslide on Black for two and they stage a sit-in, which leads to a shoving match and big brawl onto the floor. Back in the ring, Reynolds makes a comeback on Black with a running elbow for two, but Black and Brody double-team with a lariat that gets two. Brody comes in and puts the boots to Reynolds in the corner and follows with a senton for two. The House works on the arm in the corner, with Buddy coming off the top with a stomp, but Reynolds fights back and makes the hot tag to 10. Not that hot, the crowd is pretty dead for this match actually. 10 runs wild with the spinebuster to set up the full nelson on Black, but Buddy hits him with the meteora to break it up. It turns into another brawl and the Dark Order hits their double-teams, but Brody King wipes everyone out. 10 with another full nelson on Black, but Malakai rips up the knee brace to escape and puts him in a kneebar. But then Miro does the WWE music distraction run-in and Reynolds gets the rollup pin at 9:00 to advance. Match wasn’t great to begin with and that was a WEAK finish. ** The beatdown on Miro commences, but Darby and Sting make the save.
Meanwhile, Hook doesn’t care about 2.0. So they storm in and want a piece of the FTW title! Hook destroying them on some random show is going to be hilarious.
TNT title: Wardlow v. Ryan Nemeth
Nemeth does some indie-show level heel promo work (apparently the Cleveland Browns are a terrible football team!) while Sonjay Dutt’s crew comes out to watch, and Wardlow immediately destroys Nemeth with the powerbomb symphony at 1:40.
Meanwhile, Private Party continues beefing with Andrade & Rush, and it’s going to lead to consequences.
Powerhouse Hobbs v. Ashton Day
And Hobbs destroys this geek as well, hitting him with a clothesline before mocking Ricky Starks and then finishing with a spinebuster at 1:03. And then back in the dressing room, the Factory takes out Ricky Starks and QT gives him a shot with his watch to knock him out.
Meanwhile, Jade Cargill tries to get rid of Leila Grey again and brawls with Athena. Both of these angles have been going on for MONTHS and we haven’t even gotten a match yet! I don’t know how much more effectively they can kill Jade’s momentum but they’re doing a hell of a job with it.
Ruby Soho & Ortiz v. Tay Melo & Sammy Guevara
BREAKING NEWS: Jade Cargill will in fact finally defend the damn title against Athena after 5 months of the babyface complaining despite never winning matches, at All Out. What a build that was. Seriously, why even waste a PPV slot on this match, just blow it off on Dark or something and move on. Tay and Ruby trade some stuff while Excalibur hypes the PPV and ignores the match, and then Ortiz comes in and works on Sammy’s arm before splashing Ruby onto Sammy for two. Tay uses her feminine wiles to distract Ortiz and Sammy gets a cheapshot for two and teams up with Tay for a double suplex that gets two. Ortiz rolls him up for two. Parker gets a cheapshot from the floor and Sammy gives him the Jesse Ventura Special for two and Fite takes a break. Back with Ruby getting a hot tag and running wild on Tay, leading to the Riot Kick for two. Sammy makes the save, so Ruby tags in Ortiz nice and legal, but Anna Jay attacks Ruby outside, and Sammy hits the cutter for the pin at 9:38. This whole thing earns the JAS their Sports Entertainer of the Week award, but it was another nothing match with a bullshit finish tonight. **
Meanwhile, CM Punk’s foot hurts. Huge if true.
ROH World title: Claudio Castagnoli v. Dustin Rhodes
I love Dustin but this is not a viable main event in any sense of the word. They trade armdrags to start and Claudio takes him down with a headlock, but Dustin takes a bump on the apron and bails to regroup. Back in with a sunset flip, but Claudio blocks it for two. Dustin comes back with an atomic drop for one, but he misses a bodypress and lands on the floor again, while Arn and Brock offer some motivational coaching. I feel like it’s the right time for the Andersons to just turn on Dustin, which would at least give Brock Anderson something to do as a heel and a feud with Dustin for a bit. Back in the ring, Claudio works the arm and gets a neckbreaker for two. Claudio drops an elbow for two and gets a gut wrench for two. He goes to a crossface, but Dustin fights out and they slug it out and fight for a backslide. Dustin clotheslines him to the floor and makes the comeback in the ring with a Code Red for two. Claudio cuts him off with a stungun for two and that sets up the Giant Swing for two. Back to the crossface, but Dustin fights out and hits a powerbomb of some kind for two. And they do a leapfrog spot where Dustin accidentally hits Claudio with a low blow, but Claudio recovers with a Swiss Death forearm for the pin to retain at 12:33. And Arn is dismayed with the lack of killer instinct from Dustin Rhodes, but nothing more comes of it. Oh great they hotshot 18 heel turns over the past two months like Vince Russo on a coke binge but DUSTIN RHODES gets the slow burn treatment, I see. Maybe Arn should mentor someone who isn’t 51 years old and in semi-retirement. Match was fine. ***
My frustration with this show continues to build, as I have no idea what the show is even supposed to be at this point. We’ve got a tournament going on, an ROH title match, the AAA mixed tag champs, some squashes…it’s just a mess of midcard stuff thrown at the wall every week. AND STILL NO MAIN EVENT FOR THE PPV! It’s a week away!
Anyway, I say it every week, but this is easily the most inessential of the “big” weekly shows by a wide margin, as was there literally nothing on this one that you need to worry about missing.