Date: September 9, 2022
Location: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Chris Jericho
It’s the second night of the Tournament Of Champions and the best thing that can happen to this show is a hot match to make some of the last week go away. That is what they did on Dynamite but Rampage is a bit of a trickier subject. We do get Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara this week though and that should be enough. Let’s get to it.
Tournament Of Champions First Round: Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara
Tay Melo is here with Guevara. Feeling out process to start as they trade headlocks until Allin backslides him for two. A Gory Stretch into a Fujiwara armbar keeps Guevara in trouble but he blocks a charge in the corner. Guevara superplexes him into Two Amigos but Allin reverses the third into a crash over the top…where Allin suplexes him on the floor for a bonus. Melo cuts off a dive before Allin tries anyway, only to get pulled out of the air with a cutter on the floor as we take a break.
Back with Guevara hitting a knee to the face as Jericho talks about the chemistry these two have in the ring. Guevara misses a shooting star press and gets caught with a Code Red for two. Melo offers another distraction though, allowing Guevara to kick Allin in the face. The always confident Guevara stops to kiss Melo, allowing Allin to hit the big flipping suicide dive.
Back in and Allin rips off Guevara’s wedding ring, which is enough to make Melo get on the apron. Guevara knocks Allin down and takes his ring back, setting up an enziguri in the corner. A double springboard cutter gives Guevara two but he misses his own Coffin Drop. Cue Anna Jay so Melo can throw in the skateboard. Guevara powerbombs him onto the wheels, setting up GTH to finish Allin at 11:05.
Rating: B-. It was another good match between the two of them though I don’t know if it was quite the classic that commentary was hyping it up as being. Guevara going forward is a fine way to go, even if it means Allin loses another big match. That being said, Guevara is the hotter star right now, as Allin hasn’t done much without Sting in a pretty long while. Solid opener, as AEW continues putting their biggest matches at the top of their shows.
We look at MJF’s return on Dynamite and showdown with Jon Moxley.
Here is Samoa Joe for a chat. Joe hasn’t been around very often and he owes the people a lot more violence. He is open for business so here is Mark Sterling with Josh Woods and Tony Nese. Sterling thinks that Woods should get a TV Title shot and Joe says sure. Hold on though as Sterling says the paperwork isn’t done so we’ll do it next week in a real city like Albany.
Miro is mad at not being in the tournament and calls himself flawless.
Madison Rayne vs. Serena Deeb
I had forgotten Rayne worked here. Feeling out process to start with Deeb not being able to hit the Deebtox as Rayne rolls her up for a close two. Back up and Deeb shoves her down and starts hammering away. Deeb gets annoyed at being rolled up so she goes after the knee and Serenity Locks Rayne for the tap at 3:58.
Rating: C. Not much beyond a squash here and I’m still not sure how much higher Rayne is going to go in AEW. She has experience and is certainly passable in the ring, but she feels like just another person on the show for the most part. I’m still not sure why Deeb isn’t a bigger star, she she rarely breaks out of that third tier of women. The skill is there, but for some reason nothing else is clicking for her.
Jade Cargill and the Baddies aren’t surprised by beating Athena and say she might as well be 50-0.
Powerhouse Hobbs is ready to hurt even more people.
William Regal talks about hiring Dax Harwood out of obscurity, but now Regal is in Claudio Castagnoli’s corner. Castagnoli is ready to face Harwood, who will win something on his own one day, but it won’t be tonight. Harwood says this is how he feeds his family so Top Guy out.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Ring Of Honor World Title: Dax Harwood vs. Claudio Castagnoli
Harwood is challenging and William Regal is here with the champ. Feeling out process to start with Harwood’s leapfrog being pulled out of the air but he grabs some rollups for two each. Back up and Castagnoli fires off some uppercuts to take over so Harwood suplexes both of them over the top and out to the floor. We take a break and come back with Castagnoli winning a slugout and putting on an abdominal stretch.
With that broken up, Castagnoli puts him on top but gets chopped backwards, setting up a Swan Dive from Harwood. JR goes into a funny rant about how you’re an idiot if you aren’t doing this for the money as Harwood backdrops his way out of a Neutralizer. Harwood grabs a piledriver for two and goes up top, only to get superplexed back down. We take another break and come back again with Harwood getting two off a backslide so Castagnoli kicks him in the face.
The slingshot sitout powerbomb gives Harwood two more but Castagnoli puts him right back on top. A belly to back superplex is countered into a crossbody for two more, plus a big crash. Another slugout goes to Castagnoli and it’s a giant swing into the Sharpshooter. With that almost broken up, Castagnoli tries a Crossface but gets reversed into a Sharpshooter of his own. That breaks down and Castagnoli drives in some hammer and anvil elbows, setting up the Sharpshooter to make Harwood tap at 20:24.
Rating: B. This wasn’t a match that had a ton of doubt to it but the action getting to the pretty obvious ending was quite good. Castagnoli is a monster and Harwood kept at him until he fell short at the end. I could go with Harwood not getting pinned so often, but then again I could also go with FTR doing something of note but that doesn’t seem likely anytime soon either.
Respect is shown to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. As usual, outside of a single match, there was nothing on here that felt like it was making any kind of a difference. Rampage feels like a show where they grabbed a handful of people who weren’t on Dynamite and let them get ring time that week. That can be nice to see and gives us stuff like the main event, but when you have this many people and so little TV time, there are going to be problems and that is what you see with AEW a lot of the time. The main event was very good, but sometimes you need more than that to make something worth the time and effort.
Sammy Guevara b. Darby Allin – GTH
Serena Deeb b. Madison Rayne – Serenity Lock
Claudio Castagnoli b. Dax Harwood – Sharpshooter
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