The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 02.10.23
I wasn’t particularly paying attention when Excalibur did his rapid fire rundown of Rampage on Wednesday so I’m mostly going into this one blind. I’m sure if there was anything notable I would have perked up though.
Taped from El Paso, TX
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone & Chris Jericho
Jon Moxley, Wheeler Yuta & Claudio Castagnoli v. Kip Sabian, The Butcher & The Blade
Building up Sabian as the next challenger to Yuta’s Pure title isn’t the worst idea in the world. Sabian sends Yuta to the floor, but Claudio comes in with a press slam and Kip has to tag out to Butcher. Butcher looks EVIL with the newly shaved head and he should stick with it. So Claudio slugs it out with Butcher and the BCC traps him in the corner and beats on him. Butcher comes back with a cross body on Yuta, but he doesn’t go for the cover and lets Sabian come in and give it a try instead. Sabian with a stunner and the heels work Yuta over in the corner, but he fights back with a dropkick on Sabian out of the corner. Moxley gets a tag and slugs away on Sabian in the corner, but Butcher and Blade trap him in the corner and post him to take over.
Butcher suplexes him on the floor and Sabian follows with a quebrada, which gets two back in the ring. Blade puts the boots to Mox and Sabian takes him to the top for a superplex attempt, but Moxley blocks it and brings him down with a powerbomb. Butcher tries to cut off the tag and Moxley hits him with a lariat and makes the hot tag to Claudio. He hits Blade with running forearms, but Penelope distracts them and Blade fights back with his own running shots. So then Claudio hits him harder with the forearms, but he tries the Giant Swing and Sabian jumps on his back to block. So he takes the Swing, and Blade rolls Claudio up for two off of that.
Claudio with a Sharpshooter on Blade, but Butcher breaks it up with an elbow, and Mox gives him a cutter. But then Butcher and Blade double-team Claudio with a gutbuster into an awesome lariat, but Yuta saves the pinfall. Yuta suplexes Butcher onto his head, but Blade dumps him and goes to finish Claudio again. Claudio hits him with a death valley driver for two, but Sabian makes the save there. Yuta dives on Butcher outside, and Sabian springboards in and lands in Moxley’s cutter, before Claudio finishes the Blade with SWISS DEATH at 13:40. Started slow but once Claudio got in, it got GREAT. ***1/2.
Meanwhile, Darby Allin and Sting are apparently gonna go out in a blaze of glory. They didn’t strike me as Bon Jovi fans but you never know.
Q & Murr of the Impractical Jokers join us for more WBD corporate synergy and they still have Jericho’s bat. So Jericho calls out the Appreciation Society and they beat up the Jokers and steal it back. This was not only lame, but it didn’t have anything to do with what the Impractical Jokers are actually about. Like it would make more sense based on the show if, say, Q dared Murr to steal the baseball bat and he had to talk his way out of getting beat up by Jericho. It’s not a show about practical jokes, it’s a show about friends torturing each other in social experiments. Also apparently Joe left the show and now it’s just Q, Murr and Sal? I can’t imagine that being any good.
Meanwhile, Dustin Rhodes likes Doritos, but he hates Swerve, and he’s coming for him. So this brings out Wish Brock and Tattooed Guy and they beat up Dustin to set up a Rampage match next week.
Ruby Soho v. Marina Shafir
Oh great we’re still trying to make Shafir a thing? Now she’s wrestling barefoot as her new thing. She does some nice mat work to control Ruby to start, but Ruby beats her down with knees until Vickie Guerrero provides distraction and allows Shafir to get a suplex for two. Shafir puts her down with leg kicks and slugs her down in the corner, but Ruby rolls her up for two. Shafir takes her down with a judo throw for two. She just moves so robotically, with no real flow to her stuff. Fite takes a break as Shafir throws more kicks to the ribs in the corner. And we return with Ruby hitting her finish for the pin at 7:03.
This brings out Toni and Saraya to continue their lame heel storyline, and Saraya tells the crowd to SHUT UP so you know she’s bad. So this quickly turns into a brawl with Britt and the mean girls while Ruby just watches on.
Meanwhile, Mark Briscoe does a promo backstage, but Smart Mark Sterling interrupts and offers his services to Briscoe. But apparently Mark doesn’t understand the concept of “making money” and ignores the offer, which brings Josh Woods out to make a challenge that I’m assuming will lead to the ROH PPV.
Update from later in the show: Apparently it’s leading to a Dynamite match instead.
Jungle Boy v. Ryan Nemeth
Nemeth attacks, but Perry dives onto him. Into the ring, Wish Ziggler takes over with a DDT, but he stops to swivel and Jack hits a superkick and Sliced Bread, then finishes with a Hidden Blade at 1:05. This brings out Brian Cage to threaten him and that sets up another Dynamite match.
Meanwhile, Ortiz doesn’t really want to fight Eddie Kingston, but if that’s how to get through to him, he’ll have to fight.
Meanwhile, Hangman Page is pretty annoyed that Renee is always the one interviewing him, and he’s even more annoyed that Moxley had the temerity to win a wrestling match with a wrestling hold. WHAT’S UP WITH THAT? So Kip Sabian stops by and decides to poke the bear. That probably won’t end well for him.
All Atlantic title: Orange Cassidy v. Lee Moriarty
Moriarty steals the glasses while they trade hammerlocks, but Orange steals them back and then counters a takedown by sticking his hands in his pockets. So Moriarty tries to stomp him, but Orange hits the Inoki leg kicks from his back and then rams Moriarty into the turnbuckles. He misses a dive, however, and Lee punts him and goes to work on the arm. European Clutch gets two for Moriarty and they fight to the apron, where Moriarty rams the arm to take over. They fight to the floor and Moriarty rams the arm into the railing a few times before giving us some TIGA STYLE.
Back in the ring, Lee continues bending the arm around and bites the fingers before rolling Orange up for two. Moriarty wraps him up with a wristlock submission, but Orange rolls him up for two. They head to the top and Orange fights him off and comes back with a Michinoku Driver for two. Suddenly Excalibur goes CRAZY and announces a million matches for Dynamite while Orange gets the stunner and then tries for a sleeper. Moriarty dumps Orange to break, and Danhausen tries to curse Stokely and ends up punching him in the cast instead. But Orange hits Moriarty with a diving DDT anyway. Moriarty blocks the Orange Punch with a lariat, but a Beach Break gets two. Orange Punch looks to finish, but Lee lures him into the submission hold, and Orange rolls him over for the pin to retain at 11:31. Kind of a paint by numbers Orange match. **1/2.
This brings out Lethal and Jarrett for the post-match attack, and they use their Golden Globe to brutalize the Best Friends until the Acclaimed make the save and end the show.
Well obviously the 400,000 viewers for last week’s show suddenly convinced Tony Khan that he needed Jon Moxley and Orange Cassidy back on the show again immediately. Still didn’t feel like anything more than a show to set up Dynamite, however, which is kind of the whole ongoing problem with a show that has no identity of its own. Is it an easy show to watch? Yes. Did you miss anything at all if you skipped it? Not at all.