The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 01.13.23
Taped from Los Angeles, CA
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur, Chris Jericho & Tony Schiavone
TNT title: Darby Allin v. ROCK HARD Juice Robinson
Juice takes Darby down and rides him on the mat for a bit, but Darby latches onto the headlock until Juice suplexes out of it to escape. Juice misses a senton and Darby goes back to the headlock, but Juice backdrops him over the top rope to get out of that. They fight out there and Darby gets whipped into the railing and stairs, while Jericho gives us the scouting report on the dangerous nature of the railings. Hard hitting journalism there. Juice drops Darby on the stairs while the announcers riff on Muta’s big Bye Bye show, and back in the ring Juice hits a double axehandle and slugs away for two. Juice with a delayed vertical suplex, which is so delayed that they should call it my WrestleKingdom rant, and Juice slugs away on Darby and finishes with a chop. Darby fights back with a shotgun dropkick to the corner, and he follows with a tope to the floor. Back in the ring, Juice blocks a springboard coffin splash because he’s ROCK HARD and puts him down for two. Juice with the sentons, and he hits a trifecta of sentons for two. Juice goes up and misses a flying senton, and Darby cradles him for two, but Juice powers him up and puts him down with an exploding gutbuster for two. Juice misses a cannonball in the corner and Darby gets the Code Red for two and goes up to finish. Juice cuts him off and chops him down and into a lariat to bring him down again, and a Jackhammer gets two. Back to the top and Juice tries a superplex, but Darby counters it to a Scorpion Deathdrop in mid-air, and then finishes with the Coffin drop at 10:49. Juice is a good pickup for AEW and can just have good matches like these on shows like these. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Hobbs is going to spread his ashes all over us.
The Acclaimed join us to unveil their star for the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Max Caster almost raps about WWE with “we didn’t have to sell out for blood money” but that’s still open to interpretation. But before they can memorialize their scissoring in cement, the Gunns interrupt and they’re bitter about having their dad stolen. So the Gunns are about to put their own hands in the cement in retaliation, but Acclaimed yanks their pants down and shoves their asses in the cement instead.
Meanwhile, Swerve hangs out with more rappers and promises to be the most violent group in AEW.
The House of Black v. Eddie Kingston & Ortiz
Sadly, Eddie won’t even flash gang signs with poor Ortiz, who is left hanging on the apron. That’s not cool. Brody beats Ortiz down with chops, but Ortiz dropkicks the knee and brings him back to the corner and demands Eddie come in. So it’s over to Malakai in response, and Eddie hits him with a chop to set the mood. They trade kick attempts and that’s a stalemate, so the House double-teams Eddie and then Black hits Ortiz with a moonsault outside to take care of him. Back in the ring, Black beats on Eddie with kicks, but Kingston pokes him in the eye. Brody comes in and continues beating Eddie down in the corner as Fite takes a break. Back with Brody hitting Kingston with a lariat, but Eddie fights up with an enzuigiri and suplex, but he refuses to tag Ortiz in again. So Ortiz comes in anyway and hits a DDT on Black, and Eddie gets an exploder for two off that. The crowd chants “Tag your partner”, but Eddie isn’t into doing what people tell him and he keeps fighting instead. Black hits him with a knee strike, but Ortiz sacrifices himself and Eddie gets a Saito suplex and lariat for two off that. This brings out Buddy Matthews and Julia with chairs, and Eddie steals one of them and appears ready to hit Julia Hart with it, which greatly offends Ortiz. And that distracts Eddie long enough for Black to finish with the kick at 9:44. And Black congratulates Ortiz for doing so well there. This had moments but kind of meandered by the end. **1/2
Paul Walter Hauser joins Renee in the ring, and he talks about being a big fan of wrestling. Yeah anyone who watches Cobra Kai would get that immediately. But Danhausen interrupts and he’s offended at not getting a physical award for being the #1 merchandise seller for 2022, and he wants Hauser’s Golden Globe. And then this brings out Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal, and Hauser immediately goes on the offense by saying Jeff “looks like a woman who owns a Crunch Fitness” and never plays the guitar he carries around. So Jarrett naturally lays him out and then smashes the guitar on his head. Danhausen is the next victim, but now the Best Friends make the save, while Sonjay Dutt steals the Golden Globe award. This feud is pretty much perfect placement for everyone involved so I approve.
Street Fight: Anna Jay & Tay Melo v. Ruby Soho & Willow Nightingale
The babyfaces have gone from reluctant partners to matching Dudley Boyz tribute gear already. They attack at the entrance to start and Ruby demands tables, but they fight to the ring before we can see them. Ruby gets stuffed into a garbage can and Tay double-stomps it from the apron, which busts Ruby open as a result. Oh also apparently KUSHIDA is now in AEW and facing Darby Allin on Dynamite for the TNT title? That’s a hell of a thing to just announce during a rapid fire match dump. Everyone sits in chairs and they all slug it out, until Tay superkicks Willow and tosses her out of the ring. Tay with a DDTay on Ruby, on a chair, and they double-team Willow and slam her on a garbage can for two. Anna uses the barbed wire for a choke attempt, but Ruby reappears and beats on Anna with a chain. And then Tay saves with a trash can lid, but Willow suplexes the heels for a Tower of Doom spot and makes the comeback. Spinebuster on Tay and she hits Anna with the cannonball for two. Willow takes Anna to the apron, the HARDEST PART OF THE RING, and hits a death valley driver out there before they head up the ramp and Willow does her Bubba Ray tribute with a powerbomb off the stage and through a table. Well, in theory, because it mostly missed. And then Tay piledrives Ruby off the apron and through another table, which gets two. Tay with the thumbtacks next and she teases another piledriver on those, but Ruby throws a handful of tacks in Tay’s face and finishes with the Sister Abigail into the thumbtacks at 12:30. A very messy brawl that never really got “great” in any way but was entertaining and violent the whole way. ***
Well this was certainly a “something for everyone” show, although not up to the level of recent Rampages. However, I appreciated that they took time to set up multiple new feuds and actually furthered some storylines, which is a huge improvement over the Super Happy ROH Fun Hour format that had been dragging the show down before.