The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 09.02.22
Live from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone and Chris Jericho
Trios tournament semi-final: The Best Friends v. The Dark Order
Danhausen curses Hangman Page and gets EJECTED as a result. Orange rides Hangman like a horsie but then they fight to a stalemate. Trent and Chuck come in for a quick hug and Silver tries to do the same with Reynolds, but that’s gimmick infringement and the Friends won’t stand for that. Meanwhile Excalibur reels off all the stuff ahead on the show and grumpy old man JR quips “How long is this show, 8 hours?” No that’s the PPV on Sunday. Silver gets cradled by Hangman, like a baby, and Orange tries to take advantage by throwing the vicious shoot kicks, but Page throws Johnny at him and we get a brawl. The Best Friends double-team Silver in the corner and Chuck gets two off a double suplex while Don Callis and Chris Jericho make inside jokes about Winnipeg and grumpy old JR continues being annoyed by everyone. Page tosses Reynolds onto the Friends outside and then accidentally hits Reynolds with his own dive, so the Friends chokeslam him through the table. Back in the ring, Alex gets an elbow on Chuck for two, but Silver comes in and runs wild until Orange cuts him off with the stunner. Orange with the Beach Break for two. The Best Friends hit Silver with the Army Ant triple team splash for two, but Hangman returns and makes the save. So Page gets the hot tag and moonsaults Chuck on the floor (Jericho: “I hate Orihara too!”) and the Deadeye on Cassidy gets two. Silver and Reynolds run through their double-team sequence on Orange, but he cradles Silver for two. Best Friends take out Reynolds with Strong Zero on the floor and Chuck hits Silver with the Awful Waffle for two, but Hangman saves again. Buckshot misses and Orange hits him with the Orange Punch, but Silver gets the fluke rollup on Chuck to advance to the finals at 11:22. I gotta say, this was not great, for a couple of reasons. First up, it was very wacky and didn’t feel like it had legitimate stakes to it. But on a different note, which might have just been me, I dunno, but I found it really confusing to follow and had trouble keeping track of who was on which team during the match because they’re all kind of doing the same thing and they could normally be interchangeable as mix-and-match teams outside of this. Also the finish was awful, but they could be deliberately booking the Dark Order as goobers to set up the big upset win, which would be fine as well. **1/4 But really, is anyone seriously thinking that they’re gonna top either of the matches that the Bucks & Omega already had on their side of the bracket?
Rey Fenix v. Blake Christian
They trade kicks to start and Fenix hits him with the springboard wristlock takedown, despite Blake’s efforts to stop him, but Blake takes him to the floor and follows with a dive. Back in the ring, Fenix beats on him with chops and finishes with the sit-out piledriver at 2:23. Well Christian got a couple of moves but this was pretty much a squash. *
Meanwhile, Angelo Parker confronts Hook, and 2.0 is pretty sure they’re getting a TASTE OF THE TITLE. But not tonight, Sunday night.
Meanwhile, Jade Cargill has a face to face with Athena and they don’t really accomplish much. This is absolutely not a PPV quality match and they should just blow it off on TV and find something else for Jade.
Tay Melo & Sammy Guevara v. Ruby Soho & Ortiz
I have no idea why they needed to run this back again. Ortiz works on Sammy’s back in the corner and rakes the back with some TIGER STYLE. Ruby takes out Tay and Ortiz puts Sammy in the ropes for some kicks from Ruby, but Tay saves her man and runs Ruby into the stairs. Back in the ring for more PDA from Sammy and Tay, and Sammy chokes out Ortiz on the ropes. Sammy and Tay get a double suplex on Ortiz and Sammy goes to the chinlock and then chokes him out some more. Ortiz fights back with a powerslam and gets the hot tag to Ruby, who runs wild on Tay and hits her with a kneelift. The faces double-team Sammy for two, and Ruby headbutts Sammy, but Tay DDTs Ruby for two. Sammy and Tay try to double suplex Ortiz, but he escapes and Ruby rolls up Tay for the pin at 7:48. So now Ruby and Ortiz are in the conversation for the prestigious AAA Mixed Tag Team titles! Match was fine. **1/2
Meanwhile, Don Callis stops by to compliment Hangman Page on his ability to screw over his longtime friends in the name of money.
And then it turns out that they actually added ANOTHER MATCH to the pre-show on Sunday, with the Mixed Tag team title now being defended in match #3 between the teams. Uh, yeah, I’m good, I don’t need to see that one for a third time in two weeks. They’re pushing their luck with this and might end up killing the crowd if they keep stuffing this show with more matches.
FTR and Wardlow join us in the ring for the go-home promo for their six man match that no one cares about Sunday. So Uncle Dax talks about just that, about how people are complaining that their match is meaningless, but the MCMGs interrupt and Sonjay insults Dax’s daughter for the heat. Oh and Detroit is bad I guess. Yeah this match still doesn’t have a point.
QT Marshall v. Ricky Starks
Ricky has locked the Factory in a closet, so QT is on his own, and he attacks Ricky in the back and drags him to the ring. Into the ring to start officially and Ricky stomps him down in the corner, but QT takes him down and puts the boots to him. Starks fights back, but QT puts him down with an elbow and goes to the top. Starks cuts him off and brings him down with a superplex, but QT gets the handspring kick before walking into a belly to belly. DDT gets for Starks. The Factory escapes their captivity and gives QT a watch to use as a weapon, but Starks knocks it away and takes care of the Factory on the floor. Back in, QT gets a low blow, but Starks blocks the cutter with a backslide for two. QT with the Diamond Cutter for two. QT teases a Crossroads, but Starks spears him and finishes with the Rochambeau at 7:00. This was fine. **1/2 And then we finish with the big go-home moment of…Ricky Starks brawling with Powerhouse Hobbs? Well that’s a choice.
I mean, I wouldn’t say it was BAD. It was just an episode of Rampage, but for a live go-home show it sure didn’t offer much new information about any of the 14 matches crammed into the show. They didn’t even do a video package about Moxley and Punk. I’m sure it’ll be a good show and if you love six-man matches then I have GREAT NEWS for you, but this build continues to just feel so lacklustre.