The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 12.23.22
Taped from San Antonio, TX
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur, Chris Jericho & Tony Schiavone
$300,000 Three Kings Trios Christmas Casino Battle Royale:
We start with Best Friends & Orange, Butcher & Blade & Kip Sabian, and LFI. All members of the team need to go over the top to be eliminated. Preston Vance tosses Chucky T at 1:40 for the first elimination and I think Orange Cassidy went out at some point as well. Kind of chaotic to be honest. The Blackpool Combat Club are next in, with Moxley, Yuta and Claudio, although Orange appears again so I guess he’s still in it. Everyone pairs off and we get some normal battle royale stuff in the corners, but the Dark Order is next in at 3:50. They all jump Vance and then Moxley gets involved, so Uno tries to throw him out. Orange tries a dive onto three guys and gets caught and slammed, and Chris Jericho struggles with math during the break. Just more guys piled up and fighting on the ropes, but Orange punches Blade out, only to get thrown out by Sabian, and then Sabian gets thrown out as well. Luther, Angelico & Serpentico are next in as The Spanish Announce Project, and Luther tosses Serpentico into some people, but Angelico gets tossed out by Claudio before he can even make it into the match. Silver throws out Dralistico, but Rush throws out Johnny Hungie right after. Uno and Rush have a fun little fight in the corner, but Moxley breaks it up and pushes Uno out at 9:54. Claudio tosses Luther out, which brings out Mark Sterling and his goof troops of Daivari, Josh Woods and Tony Nese. Jericho notes that they’re no joke. I disagree. Reynolds gets picked off by Moxley at 11:40, and Rush destroys Yuta and tosses him after that. Preston tosses out Serpentico, which brings out Top Flight & AR Fox as the last team. They triple team Trent with a cutter and Claudio tosses Ari Daivari at 13:39 after Sterling makes sure to save himself first. Moxley boots Vance out at 14:20 to save Claudio. Dante tosses Tony Nese, but he hangs onto the top rope, so Dante throws out Josh Woods instead. But then Nese tries a springboard move and Dante shoves him out of the ring and onto his friends at 15:39. Trent finally gets wiped out by Rush, and Rush goes after Claudio as well as they fight to the apron. They trade chops out there and Claudio wins that battle and then uppercuts him to the floor at 17:12. Moxley blasts Fox to the floor at 17:19, leaving Moxley & Claudio v. Dante & Darius as the finale. But then Hangman Page runs in and attacks Moxley as security mobs the ring and pulls them apart, which allows Darius to dropkick Moxley out at 18:18. So Moxley takes out the pile of security guards with a dive, while Claudio handles Top Flight by himself and tries to throw them both out at the same time. He gets them to the apron but they fight back in with kicks and double-team Claudio to the ropes. And then they return the favor and try to slam him to the floor, but he fights them off and boots Dante to set up a press slam. Darius saves that with a superkick and they double-team Claudio to the apron, but he hangs on with one foot. So they charge him and Claudio fights them off from the apron, and Dante finally sacrifices himself with a rana to the apron and out to the floor at 22:00 for the win. Most of the match was a chaotic mess, but the last 10 minutes were top tier drama stuff. But all credit to them for trying something new and different again. Also the inevitable Moxley & Claudio v. Top Flight tag match is going to be AWESOME.
Eddie Kingston & Ortiz join us, and they don’t want to wait for the House of Black to turn out the lights and “do the creepy crap”. But instead Malakai and his house appear on the screen, and Black wonders if maybe Ortiz might secretly be Eddie’s enemy.
Meanwhile, Sammy and Daniel continue their wacky mentorship, as Sammy accuses Daniel of being a tight ass who needs a hug, and then forces one on him.
Jade Cargill v. Vertvixen
I know everyone thinks they’re waiting for Statlander to come back before they do anything with Cargill, but Kris is basically having her legs rebuilt like the Bionic Woman from the sounds of it, so that’s probably going to be a long wait. Jade beats her down in the corner and follows with a couple of slams. Hiptoss and Vertvixen kind of takes a half-bump off that for whatever reason, and Jade chokes her out in the corner while Jericho references Ed Whalen. Jade whips her into the corner and slaps her around, then chokes her out some more. So interestingly, Fite is showing this week’s episode without any of the non-PIP commercial breaks, which means I don’t have to hear THIS IS RAMPAGE BABY over and over for 4 minutes at a time. Pump kick finishes at 4:00 in a pointless and dull squash. ½*
Meanwhile, Ruby Soho reluctantly accepts the help of Willow for a tag match with Anna Jay & Tay Melo on Dynamite.
Meanwhile, Powerhouse Hobbs randomly beats up some dude in the parking lot.
Anthony Bowens & Billy Gunn v. Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal
Caster promises to send Lethal & Jarrett back to the Impact Zone in his rap, although we should be so lucky. At least Billy Gunn found a way to reinvent himself and get over again. Lethal and Bowens trade chops, but Bowens takes him down with the fameasser and brings in Billy. JJ puts him down with a back elbow and stops to strut like it’s 1993, but Billy gets a jackhammer for two. Jarrett’s match on that GCW PPV with Effy wasn’t great, but at least his “Last Outlaw” gimmick where he worked like a Funk was an interesting new direction for him. This is not. Bowens and Billy team up with a Scissor Elbow on Lethal for two, but Jarrett takes out Bowens on the floor with a clothesline. Jericho and JR have a wacky discussion about “having heat with the pencil” in regards to Sonjay, and Lethal works Bowens over in the corner and chokes him out. Bowens comes back with a sunset flip on Jarrett for two and Lethal cuts off the ring with a slam for two. Lethal with a chinlock and he pounds on Bowens with knees, and Jarrett comes in with a legsweep for two. Jarrett whips him into the corner and gives us some gimmick-infringing crotch chops, and Lethal gets a neckbreaker for two. Lethal with a snap suplex for two. Back to the chinlock, but Bowens fights out of that and gets a rollup for two. Lethal puts him down again with the Lethal Combination for two. Jarrett slugs away on Bowens, but he comes back with a superkick and it’s HOT TAG Daddy Ass. He clotheslines Satnam out of the ring and counters the Lethal Injection into the One and Only for two. Jarrett hits Bowens with the Stroke to get rid of him, but Sonjay goes low on Billy and the Lethal Injection finishes at 11:30. This was much different than your usual high level AEW tag matches, just a normal old school territory “get the heat on the good guy” match with the hot tag and cheating heel finish. Easy to watch and a fun time. ***
Well the women’s match was a waste but the rest was a breezy watch on a Friday night. It’s a good direction for the show lately.