The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 09.09.22
Taped from Buffalo, NY
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Excalibur & Chris Jericho
AEW World title tournament WILD CARD: Sammy Guevara v. Darby Allin
Winner of this one gets Moxley on Dynamite. They fight for the lockup and Sammy gives him a shot in the corner, but Darby fires back and grabs a headlock to control Sammy. Sammy escapes with some flips, but Darby bridges into a backslide attempt and then turns it into a Gory Bomb and goes for the armbar. Sammy makes the ropes to escape, so Darby hits him with elbows in the corner and they fight to the top. Sammy brings him down with a superplex, and then hangs on for another suplex, but he tries a third one and Darby reverses to his own as they both fall to the apron and then Darby takes him to the floor. Tay protects her man from a dive, but then Darby tries it again and Sammy suckers him into a cutter on the floor. Tony is disgusted by all the smooching, but Jericho thinks that it might be a Popeye spinach situation for Sammy. So Tay is spinach then? Back in the ring, Sammy gets two, but Darby rakes the eyes. Sammy puts him down again and goes up for a shooting star press, but that misses and Darby hits a Code Red for two. They head to the floor again and Tay continues her devilish feminine wiles to distract Darby, but they stop for more disgusting smooching and Darby hits them with a dive and takes out Sammy. Back in, that gets two. Darby does some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION and steals Sammy’s ring, but that just enrages Sammy and he attacks Darby and retrieves it. To be fair, it IS his property. Sammy with the double jump springboard cutter for two. Sammy goes up and tries his own coffin drop, but that’s a coffin FLOP! High five! Anyone? But then Anna Jay comes down and takes the ref, allowing Sammy to drop Darby on his own skateboard with the wheels up, and the GTH finishes at 11:08. Not a classic from them, but a solid opener with the usual JAS finish. ***1/2 Doesn’t really matter who gets destroyed by Moxley next week, I guess, but it would have been nice for Darby to get another showcase.
Samoa Joe joins us, and Mark Sterling dropped a huge law bomb on Twitter: SAMOA ISN’T EVEN HIS REAL NAME! Huge if true. Anyway, Joe apologizes for being away and he owes us much more violence in the future. So Sterling interrupts and brags that Tony Nese has “more abs than Joe has matches in the company”. Factually true. Also Josh Woods deserves a shot at the ROH TV title, because reasons. So Joe tells him to do it tonight, but Sterling wants the match in a better New York town, next week instead.
Meanwhile, Miro is pretty disappointed that his god took out Malakai Black before he could do the job himself. Also there’s another tournament going on without him, and that’s just ridiculous. He demands that his god BELT THE REDEEMER. NOW. I’m listen to him.
Madison Rayne v. Serena Deeb
I was assured that we wouldn’t have to sit through any more Madison Rayne matches. And yet here she is again. Deeb works the arm to start and goes for the Deebtox right away, but Rayne counters to a cradle for two. We get some trash talk and Deeb slugs her down. Madison with a lariat for two, but Deeb takes her down and puts her in the Serenity Lock for the win at 4:00. *1/2
Meanwhile, Jade Cargill and Baddies continue calling out anyone who wants a shot.
ROH World title: Claudio Castagnoli v. Dax Harwood
Claudio grabs a headlock while Caprice Coleman is finally the one to tell Jericho to use his inside voice. Thank you on behalf of headphone users the world over. They exchange rollups and Claudio bridges into a backslide, but Dax escapes and hits him with chops. Claudio fires away with forearms and they fight for a suplex, but Dax takes him to the floor to win that battle. Back in the ring, Dax goes to a facelock, but Claudio takes him to the corner to escape and then whips him into the other corner and drops an elbow on him. They fight to the floor and slug it out with chops, and Fite takes a break. Back with them slugging it out in the ring, but Claudio wings him into the post and sends him to the floor. Claudio follows with a baseball slide and back in for another slugfest before Claudio hooks him in the abdominal stretch. Dax fights out, so Claudio puts him down with a lariat for two and sets up for a superplex. Dax fights him off with some nasty chops to put him down, and follows with a diving headbutt for two. Dax starts a slugfest again, but Claudio tries the Neutralizer, and Dax rolls through and into a piledriver for two. Dax goes up and Claudio pops up with another forearm to cut him off and then follows with a superplex for two. They fight to the floor again and Dax wants another piledriver out there, but Claudio catapults him into the post to escape. Dax beats the count, but Claudio immediately covers for two and puts the boots to him. Claudio with a pair of short arm lariats and those look painful, but Dax fights up again and fires back with forearms. Claudio tries Swiss Death, but Dax counters to a backslide for two and follows with the slingshot powerbomb for two. Claudio misses a blind charge and Dax hits him with the rolling germans and then takes him to the top for a backdrop superplex. Claudio counters in mid-air, but Dax rolls through for two. They trade more forearms until Dax goes down, and that sets up the Giant Swing. Sharpshooter follows and Dax goes for the ropes, but Claudio counters to a crossface. Dax rolls through that and gets his own Sharpshooter. Claudio fights for the ropes, but Dax kicks his hands to stop him from crawling and reapplies it. That’s pretty smart. Claudio finally powers out and beats on Dax with elbows until Dax goes out, and then goes back to his own Sharpshooter and Dax has to tap at 20:20. Well, he’s already got three titles, he’ll be OK. This was of course a hard-hitting, smartly worked match between two great pro wrestlers. ****
I still don’t know about the ratings potential of this one, but it was an easy show that essentially was two matches, and both were really good, so that’s a thumbs up.