The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 01.06.23
I’m actually home really late from work tonight so I’ll only have time to do Rampage, and Battle of Belts will be tomorrow.
Live from Portland, OR
Your hosts are Excalibur, Chris Jericho, Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone
Jon Moxley & Bryan Danielson v. Top Flight
I don’t even think they announced this one. Remember when Moxley and Danielson were ranked #2 in the tag team division for a good long while despite never having any matches? Good memories. Top Flight goes nuts with dives to start, hitting Moxley during his entrance and then dropping Danielson on the railing as well. Back in the ring, Bryan hits Dante with kicks and beats on him in the corner while the crowd goes nuts. Corner dropkick follows and Danielson brings him to the top for a rana, but Dante lands on his feet and gets the tag to Darius. Darius with dropkicks on the BCC, but Dante springboards into a boot from Moxley and we get a showdown. Everyone slugs it out and Moxley backdrops Dante to the floor and then they double-team Darius and dropkick him into the railing. Back in the ring, Bryan wraps up Dante in the surfboard and turns it into a Romero Special and then a dragon sleeper off that. Dante falls out of that, so Bryan chops him down again and then Moxley comes in and beats on him in the corner. To the top for a superplex, which gets two, and Moxley goes into the armbar and then switches off with Bryan for more torture on the arm as well. Moxley with a piledriver while the crowd chants for Aubrey because they’re just so jacked and have nothing else to cheer specifically. Maybe next they’ll chant for the concession stand guys. Mox and Bryan brutalize Dante with kicks, but he finally ducks them and they collide shins, allowing Darius to get the hot tag. So he chops the BCC and hits Moxley with an enzuigiri in the corner. But then Danielson snarls “YOU WANNA FIGHT THE BCC?” and beats the hell out of Darius with kicks, until Darius gets fired up and fights back and then catches him with a Spanish Fly. Springboard Flatliner on Moxley and it’s another tag to Dante, who springboards in with a somersault senton for two. They slug it out and we get a wacky double-team from TF, with Dante hitting a full nelson slam for two. Frog splash follows, but Moxley reverses him into the armbar and then destroys him with the hammer elbows. Dante ducks the lariat and rolls up Moxley for two, but another lariat hits and gets two. Dante escapes the Death Rider and Top Flight double-teams Bryan, but he fires back with the bu saiku knee on Darius for two, as Dante makes the desperate save. Rollup on Bryan gets two, but Bryan puts him down with the kicks again while Moxley dives onto Dante outside with a double axehandle. Danielson kicks Darius’s head in to set up the Regal stretch, and Darius is out at 13:34. This was INCREDIBLE non-stop action, but man they gotta do something with Top Flight soon because the crowd was ready for them to upset the BCC. Really you couldn’t beat either guy at this point, though. ****1/4
Meanwhile, Hangman Page is going beat Moxley in LA and then “burn him a copy on VHS” and put highlights in his entrance video so the BCC can “get horny with each other” and watch it over and over. Tremendous.
Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Jamie Hayter v. The Renegades
Robyn hits Hayter with double knees in the corner and follows with a dropkick for two. The Renegades double-team Hayter with chops in the corner and Charlette gets a short arm clothesline, but they try a double suplex and Jamie reverses and suplexes them both. Britt comes in and beats on Robyn on the ropes, then follows with the sling blade for two. Hayter comes in with the snap suplex for two and she beats on Robyn in the corner, and then Britt comes in and chokes her out to put her on the floor. Back in the ring, Hayter beats Robyn down in the corner, but she fights back with the enzuigiri and makes the tag to Charlette. Flapjack on Hayter and she follows with a spinebuster on Britt and a fisherman’s suplex for two. Britt gets a neckbreaker type of thing for two, and Hayter gets rid of Robyn with the backbreaker and then hits Charlette with a lariat to set up Britt’s curbstomp for the pin at 8:40. Odd that they gave the Renegade so much here but it was a pretty damn good match for what would normally be an extended squash. ***
Meanwhile, the House of Black sounds like they’re recruiting Eddie Kingston.
Preston Vance v. Sonico
Apparently Sonico is a local competitor and he gets a big reaction. Preston immediately hits him with the spinebuster, then finishes with the lariat at 0:42. And then he rips the mask off the poor guy for good measure and gets HUGE heat for that.
Meanwhile, Mike Bennett returns from the abyss and issues a challenge to Darby Allin for the TNT title.
TNT title: Darby Allin v. Mike Bennett
They trade wristlocks to start and Darby takes him down with a headlock. But Bennett puts him on the top rope to escape and they trade chops there until Bennett hits him in the knee and chases him to the floor. Bennett runs him into the railing, but misses a running boot. Darby comes back with a baseball slide on Bennett and then dives onto Taven, but Bennett takes him to the floor with a legsweep off the apron. Back in the ring, Bennett gets two from that and then suplexes Darby onto the ropes. Darby reverses out of another suplex attempt as the crowd reminds Bennett that he still sucks. That’s harsh. I mean, Taven is awful but I have nothing in particular against Bennett. They slug it out and Darby wins that battle, but Bennett snaps off a death valley driver for two. Darby reverses out of a piledriver, but Bennett turns him into an armbar and Darby has to make the ropes. They fight to the floor again and Darby runs him into the railing, but Taven gets involved again while Jericho stands up for the sanctity of ringside and notes that he’s not a fan of having people at ringside. Hah. Darby puts Bennett in a chair and hits him with a dropkick from the top rope to the floor in another crazy spot. Back in the ring, Maria comes in to protect Bennett from the coffin drop, but Darby doesn’t care. So Taven takes out Darby instead, and Bennett gets a Michinoku driver for two. They fight to the top rope and Bennett tries a piledriver up there, but Darby escapes with a top rope Code Red instead, and finishes with the Coffin Drop at 12:00 to retain. Goddamn where did THAT match come from? ***3/4
This was a HELL of an episode with an insanely hot crowd all show, and is well worth checking the whole thing out. Hopefully Battle of the Belts will continue the momentum!