Date: September 16, 2022
Location: MVP Arena, Albany, New York
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Chris Jericho, Tony Schiavone
The road to normalcy continues this week but there might not be as much to get hyped about with this show. The problem is that with no tournament matches for this week, there is only so much that can be done to bring in the interest. Rampage has a tendency to not feel the most important but maybe they can pull it off. Let’s get to it.
Matt Hardy vs. Darby Allin
They shake hands to start and it’s Allin grabbing a headlock takeover. Hardy fights up so Allin crucifix bombs him for two. With Hardy on the floor, Allin’s dive is cut off but he drives Hardy into the steps to knock him silly again. Allin goes Jeff/PCO by trying a Swanton, which only hits apron because people like him never learn.
We take a break and come back with Hardy hitting a Side Effect out of the corner for two. The Twist of Fate is countered and a suplex is as well, with Allin grabbing a Scorpion Death Drop to put them both down. Allin loads up the Coffin Drop but gets powerbombed out for two. Hardy misses a moonsault and gets Code Reded for two, followed by the Last Supper to give Allin the pin at 10:00.
Rating: C. Well at least Hardy didn’t go over. If Hardy can go at a pace like this then he’s fine to keep around, as long as he isn’t given a story to go with it. Allin winning is of course the only way to go here, even if he doesn’t have much going on. They didn’t exactly go extreme here, which was the point, but it could have been worse.
Post match Allin leaves so the lights go out. Cue Brody King and Julia Hart to run Hardy over, with King calling out Allin and Sting. The challenge is on for a No DQ match next week, so King chokes Hardy (playing off Sting’s longtime association with Matt) until the lights go out again and King disappears. This is a feud that was wrapped up and is continuing, which is rarely a good idea.
Eddie Kingston wants Sammy Guevara next week in New York. The match is already made.
Here is Claudio Castagnoli, flanked by Wheeler Yuta, for a chat. Claudio says the title represents what he can do and the Blackpool Combat Club represents the new symbol of excellence. Last week, Yuta lost the Pure Title to Daniel Garcia but you learn the most by losing. Then last week, Castagnoli defended his title against Dax Harwood, who was one of the toughest opponents he ever faced.
Next week is a great week for the Club though as it’s two members of the team fighting for the AEW World Title. Next week, the Club will have two World Champions in its ranks….but Chris Jericho interrupts. Jericho wants to talk about the Jericho Appreciation Society’s great week, including how he should be fighting for the World Title. Castagnoli reminds Jericho for tapping so the fans get on him, with Jericho saying he wishes he was in Albany, Georgia. Jericho brags about his World Title wins and now he wants #8 to be the Ring Of Honor World Title. Castagnoli was hoping for that so it’s on.
Jade Cargill and the Baddies were cut off by Diamante, who challenges her for the title. Note that Excalibur said Diamante was “red hot”, despite that she has lost her last two matches.
Penelope Ford vs. Willow Nightingale
Kip Sabian is here with Ford, who sees to have caught JR’s eye. Ford slugs away to start but gets caught in a headlock for her efforts. Nightingale takes her down for some rollups and we pause for Excalibur to rapid fire the matches for next week. A basement crossbody lets Nightingale get a rather smiley two, only to miss a Pounce. Some middle rope knees crush Nightingale and we take a break.
Back with Nightingale getting fired up and hitting a spinebuster for two. Ford is fine enough to Matrix away from a clothesline and hit a jumping cutter for two of her own. A kick to the face rocks Nightingale and something like a Stroke sets up a Muta Lock for the tap at 8:27 (as Sabian talks to the box helmet).
Rating: C. Ford is being reheated after her long absence but dang it is depressing to see Nightingale lose so often. She has so much charisma and is rather fun to watch every time she’s out there, but I do get why AEW wants to push Ford so much more. Decent enough match too, as Ford gets her footing back.
Hangman Page and the Dark Order are ready for the Golden Ticket Battle Royal at Grand Slam for, say it with me, a future World Title shot. La Faccion Ingobernable comes in to glare and shout.
Danhausen vs. Ethan Page
Stokely Hathaway is here with Page, who isn’t having anything of this being cursed. A big boot and running shoulder sets up the Ego’s Edge for the pin at 1:27.
Ricky Starks tells Powerhouse Hobbs to think about everything that is about to happen to him because Hobbs has his undivided attention. They’ll see each other in New York.
Josh Woods and Mark Sterling are ready to send Samoa Joe on a permanent vacation. Joe doesn’t buy it.
Here’s what’s coming on various shows.
Ring Of Honor TV Title: Samoa Joe vs. Josh Woods
Joe is defending and drives him into the corner to start for an exchange of grins. Woods cranks on the arm so Joe reverses into a cravate. With that not working, it’s time for the big forearm exchange, because that’s what so many AEW matches become. Joe sends him outside but Tony Nese snaps Joe’s arm across the top as we take a break.
Back with Joe rolling him up for two but not being able to get the Koquina Clutch. Joe puts him down and hits a backsplash for two but his arm is giving out. Nese and Sterling offer distractions so Woods can escape the rollup. A knee to the face rocks Joe and a pin into another knee to the face gets two more. Back up and the Rock Bottom out of the corner cuts Woods off, followed by the MuscleBuster to retain at 10:09.
Rating: C+. This felt like a Ring Of Honor match with Joe doing his usual stuff to win. I can go with more and more Joe so this was one of those fun matches that will work almost every time. It worked for a Rampage main event, even if the ROH TV Title feels like it has no value whatsoever.
Post match the triple teaming is on but Wardlow comes in for the save. Sterling escapes the Powerbomb Symphony and we get a Wardlow/Joe staredown to end the show. Unify some titles and I’m thrilled.
Overall Rating: C. The main thing that this show did was prove how easy it would be to have a regular Ring Of Honor show. This week featured two Ring Of Honor champions, including a title defense in the main event. There’s no reason to have Dark and Dark Elevation, so turn one of them into a Ring Of Honor show and keep all that stuff there. As for the show itself, this was little more than the final table setting show for Grand Slam, which is going to be huge. Not a must see show, but it gets us to the must see shows.
Darby Allin b. Matt Hardy – Last Supper
Penelope Ford b. Willow Nightingale – Muta Lock
Ethan Page b. Danhausen – Ego’s Edge
Samoa Joe b. Josh Woods – MuscleBuster
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