The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage / Battle of the Belts IV – 10.07.22
By Scott Keith on 8th October 2022
The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 10.07.22
OK, well Fite has this in two parts again like the last two hour show, so we’ll divide them into two rants as well.
Live from Washington, DC
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Chris Jericho & Excalibur
Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta v. Rush & Private Party
Jericho’s disgust with Regal’s innocent flirt-mance with Excalibur is great. Also caramel cheesecake IS delicious. The BCC works on Quen to start, but Kassidy comes in and Yuta trades cradles with him for two. Rush, who is now the boss of whatever is left of Andrade’s team, comes in for a showdown with Moxley and they slug it out. Moxley drops him with a german suplex and hits him with a corner clothesline, but he charges and Rush suplexes him into the corner. Private Party double-teams Mox and Quen hits Yuta with a crazy 450 to the ramp. Rush tosses Moxley and chokes him out with a TV cable, which Jericho notes was a skill they learned on day 5 of Stu Hart’s wrestling camp. Also those of you not watching on Fite also missed Jericho going on a wacky tangent about how Rush is doing Le Sex Gods’ pose and then notes he’s doing it “solo, as we say in Spanish”. The heel side has miscommunication and allows Claudio to come in and throw forearms on Kassidy, but Quen saves him from the swing. So Claudio puts Quen on his back and then does the swing on Kassidy for the craziest nonsense ever, until Rush breaks it up. I’m saddened that Kassidy didn’t do his scream while getting swung, if we’re being honest. Claudio hits Kassidy with a lariat and Yuta hits him with a flying splash for two. Mox tosses Rush and hits him with a tope while Yuta escapes the Silly String and puts Quen in the BICEP SLICER to finish at 10:13. That just sounds unpleasant. I feel like Private Party needs to regroup and come up with a new finisher that they can call the Contract Breaker or something. Anyway, this was wacky and tremendous fun. ***1/2
Varsity Blonds v. Tony Nese & Josh Woods
Remember when they were building to something with Pillman turning on his partner and doing something, and then just dropped that? The Blonds work on Nese’s arm to start, but Woods comes in and demolishes Griff, and then hits him with an Angle slam to finish at 1:45. And we cut to the back, as Arn Anderson is looking on with disappointment. And then Smart Mark announces that he’s trademarked “Varsity” for use in wrestling, which means his team is now the Varsity Athletes and the Blonds are no longer allowed to use it. Geez, they lost their manager, and then their name. If they lose their dog or their pickup truck they’ll be able to write a country song about their career. This brings out the Acclaimed, probably solely for the purpose of Max making the basketball fight joke, and they scissor for the crowd.
Meanwhile, Eddie Kingston “apologizes” for getting DQ’d against Sammy Guevara two weeks ago. I don’t think he’s sincere.
Skye Blue & Madison Rayne v. Tay Melo & Anna Jay
Apparently the heels are “Tay Jay AS”. Well they can continue workshopping that one. Madison rolls up Anna for two and works on Tay’s arm. Skye comes in with a dropkick for two and does a really bad series of kicks in the corner, but Tay catches her with a pump kick from the apron and the JAS takes over. Back in the ring, Anna gets two and they choke out Skye in the corner, but Skye escapes the TayKO and gets a rollup for two. Tay hits a swinging slam for two and we get more choking in the corner and a pump kick for two. Meanwhile the announcers are very bored and riff on Vince’s pronoun obsession to razz Jericho, but Madison gets a “hot” tag and runs wild to dead silence. Northern lights suplex gets two. Skye blind tags and hits a flying bodypress for two and a spinkick for two on Anna. Tay hits a Gotch piledriver on Skye to put her down and everyone is down, which draws some polite applause from the bored crowd. Skye escapes the Queen Slayer, but Tay hits her with a knee strike and Anna gets the choke on the second try to finish at 8:00. So that worked out for Skye about as well as her short-lived alliance with Dante Martin. This was a complete drag that killed off a pretty hot crowd. *
Meanwhile, Swerve is gonna be real with us, and lets us know that he’s not going to steal the show with Billy Gunn, he’s gonna hurt him and end his career. I dunno, I would have bet that had already happened on a few occasions, but here we are again in 2022.
AEW Trios title: Death Triangle v. The Dark Order
Dark Order tosses Pac and Penta and beats on Fenix, but he gets a rana on 10 for two. 10 with the delayed suplex, so delayed they should call it the Backstage Fight Investigation, and Reynolds beats on Fenix for a bit until Penta comes in. Alex superkicks him for two and Dark Order gets a double seated dropkick on him, leading to a slugfest between Silver and Penta. Silver kicks him down for two and 10 gets a back suplex for two. Over to Pac and they trap Reynolds in the Death Triangle corner while Jericho teases a story about getting hypnotized by Antonio Inoki, although Excalibur immediately calls him a liar. Silver slugs away on Fenix and gets a snap suplex for two. Man, that women’s match just destroyed this crowd’s hype. They’re not popping for anything. Fenix fights back on Silver and Reynolds and forces Reynolds to powerbomb his own partner, and it’s back to Penta with a flying bodypress on all three Dark Order. Backstabber on Reynolds gets two. Pac comes in with the kicks on Reynolds for two, and Death Triangle triples-teams him with kicks to finally wake the crowd up a little bit. Pac with an elbow in the corner for two and the Lucha Bros hit him with a double-team diving legdrop. Penta with chops and Pac drops a knee on him and tosses him, then follows with a suplex on the floor. Alex beats the count, but Pac whips him into the corner and puts him down with a knee before choking him out in the corner. Penta comes in with a surfboard to slow it down even more as this has been a shockingly lethargic match all around. 10 gets the hot tag and hits them with spinebusters to set up a full nelson on Fenix, but Pac breaks it up. Death Triangle triple-teams 10 for two, but Silver gets another tag and runs wild on Pac. He hits the kicks and a brainbuster for two. Back to 10, but Fenix escapes the Pendulum Bomb, only for a second try to hit and get two. Fenix fights off Reynolds with a rana and it’s back to Penta, who runs wild, but Dark Order triple-teams him and 10 gets the discus lariat for two. But then Jose the Assistant and Rush join us at ringside and give Pac the hammer. And Reynolds gets knocked out and finished at 21:04 to retain. That was a really bad finish and this was not particularly good at all, outside from a couple of minutes at the end. Otherwise it just dragged forever. **
Man this episode SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKED. Hopefully the Battle of the Belts portion redeems it because everything after the opener was kind of trash here.
The SmarK Rant for AEW Battle of the Belts IV – 10.07.22
Live from Washington, DC
Your hosts are Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone & Chris Jericho
AEW All-Atlantic title: Pac v. Trent? Beretta
So we pick this up immediately after the end of the Trios title, and Trent slugs him down with forerams and clotheslines him to the floor. Trent follows with a dive and they head back in for a future beatdown from Trent and a dropkick to put Pac back on the floor again. Trent hits him with a spear out there and back in for two. Back on the floor, Pac sets up a table for some reason, but Trent puts him on it and threatens a dive off the ramp. Pac escapes to the other side of the ring, but Trent baseball slides him and they head back in, where Pac catches him with a superplex for a double down. Pac chokes him out while Jericho wonders if he was one of the people who put Trent on the shelf with an injury in the past, but can’t recall. Trent fights back with a german suplex and the half and half, and a tornado DDT gets two. Pac’s sell of that was tremendous, as he sprung to his feet and then fell on his head. Pac retreats to the corner and Trent yanks him out by the feet, and into a piledriver for two. Pac retreats to the ramp and suckers Trent into a brainbuster off the ramp and through the table, although Pac looked like he took the brunt of that one. Also Pac managed to slice his back open on the metal ring of the table. Back in the ring, the Black Arrow misses, as Trent somehow makes the comeback after a BRAINBUSTER THROUGH A TABLE. Come on. Trent with a small package for two. They head to the top and Trent brings him down with a suplex, which gets two. Trent goes to finish, but Pac reverses the Strong Zero into the Brutalizer in mid-move, and Trent somehow makes the ropes. So Pac grabs the hammer again, and we get the Randy Savage finish where Trent tries a suplex and Pac hits him with the hammer for the pin at 14:34 to retain, completely deflating the crowd. That stupid hammer finish is really tiresome and killed the crowd in both of his matches tonight. They were having a hell of a match leading up to the finish, too. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Jericho and 2.0 offer Daniel Garcia a chance to come home to the JAS after getting taught a lesson on Dynamite. That was his big announcement?
TBS title: Jade Cargill v. Willow Nightingale
Willow goes for the headlock and Jade fights her off and then hits her with forearms in the corner. Willow with a snap suplex for two and she sends Jade to the floor and then dives, taking out the Baddies in the process. That was a bit terrifying. Jade runs her into the stairs, however, and takes over with a snap suplex in the ring. Jade beats her down and goes to a chinlock, then beats on Willow in the corner and biels her into the corner. Willow makes the comeback with clotheslines and the cannonball in the corner. Missile dropkick gets two. Willow tries a headscissors and Jade blocks with a facebuster and Jaded to finish at 7:29. This brings out Vickie Guerrero for a distraction, and Nyla Rose steals the TBS title to move onto the next thing for Jade. I’m not a fan of building up Willow’s shot like that and then just treating her like an afterthought after doing the job in a high profile setting. Match was OK, the usual Jade basic quasi-squash with a comeback from Willow. **
Meanwhile, Matt Hardy has it out with Ethan Page, and Stokely has video evidence of Matt doing CONTRACT TAMPERING. That’s the worst thing you can accuse a person of doing, and Matt threatens to delete them.
Meanwhile, Hook tears up the envelope from the Trustbusters.
ROH World tag team title: FTR v. The Gates of Agony
Kaun hits Dax with a clothesline to block a hiptoss, but Dax beats on him in the corner. Dax with a neckbreaker and FTR chases Toa to the floor, but Kaun hits Cash with a lariat out of the corner to take over. Toa with a headbutt to the shoulder and he goes to a nerve hold, and then hits him with a butt splash to put him down. Kaun comes in and Toa hits a belly to belly on the way out, as Kaun gets two. Cash bails to the apron and necks Kaun, but Toa runs Cash into the railing and I think misses a blind charge, although I’m not sure because the camera completely missed it. Back in the ring, Kaun cuts off the tag and hits an Air Raid Crash on Cash for two. Cash gets choked out in the corner and Toa adds more choking on the ropes and Kaun goes to a facelock to cut off the ring and kill the crowd. Wheeler fights out of the heel corner and makes the hot tag to Dax, but Toa immediately cuts him off with a samoan drop for two. Back to Cash, but Kaun gets a lungblower for two. FTR comes back with a stuff piledriver on Kaun for two, but Toa saves. FTR tries the Big Rig, but Toa won’t go up for it and fights them off. But then they hit it on a second try and Dax rolls up Kaun and sends him into Nana before backsliding him for the pin at 13:30 to retain. Easily the worst FTR match all year, a plodding bore from start to finish. *1/2 This quickly brings out Brian Cage for the beatdown, but Wardlow saves, gets overwhelmed, and then Samoa Joe bails him out and clears the ring and we get a staredown to end the show.
Well, the night started good but the rest of the shows mostly just alternated between annoying me and boring me. Mostly the latter. Take a pass on both halves of the two hour special this week.