The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 02.24.23
Well this show has a high bar to clear if they want to beat last week’s HYOOGE 287,000 viewer rating.
Taped from Phoenix, AZ
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Excalibur & Chris Jericho & Tony Schiavone
Aussie Open v. The Young Bucks
The Aussies double-team Matt and Davis gets a senton for two right away. Matt flips away from them and Nick comes in with a crossbody on both Aussies before hitting a double headscissors to send them to the floor. Back in, Davis cartwheels away from the Bucks and slams them both at the same time, and double power moves always get over. That gets two on Matt. The Bucks double-team Fletcher and dump Davis to set up double dives, but AO catches them and we get stereo suplexes on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Even down under. The Aussies continue beating on them outside while egging on Omega, and back in the ring for the delayed suplex, which Jericho dubs “passing the Buck” and then makes sure to laugh at his own hilarious wordplay.
Davis hits Nick with a nasty chop on the ropes and enjoys it so much that he does it again at the request of the crowd. Nick finally necks Fletcher and makes the hot tag to Matt, who runs wild with a running clothesline and shiranui on Fletcher. Davis ends up on the floor and Matt dives onto him after teasing a moonsault on Fletcher, and then pops back in with a flying elbow on Fletcher instead. The Bucks hit him with a double-team bulldog and then Nick hits a swanton on the ropes, for two. Fletcher bails to the floor and lures Matt over for a brainbuster out there, which allows Davis to hit Nick with a lariat in the ring. The Aussies double-team Nick in the corner for two, but Fletcher comes off the top and Nick manages to hit a cutter on the way down and we get a second hot tag to Matt. But then Davis just levels him with a lariat to cut that off immediately. The Bucks make the comeback, however, and hit Fletcher with a Superkick Party, but BTE Trigger misses and they collide knees, allowing Aussie Open to put them down with double lariats.
Nick and Fletcher trade forearms, but Davis pulls Nick out of the ring, and then Matt pulls Fletcher out of the ring and we get more dives from the Bucks. Back in the ring, the Bucks set up for the Meltzer, but the lights go out and Fletcher reverses the tombstone and Aussie Open hits the Coriolis on Matt for two. Davis accidentally lariats his partner, allowing the Bucks to hit more superkicks and do the wacky spot where Davis piledrives his own partner, and the BTE Trigger finishes Fletcher at 16:07. Tremendous tag team awesomeness. ****1/4. And then we get a spooky appearance from the House of Black before the lights go out again and they disappear.
Meanwhile, the Best Friends reveal that their plan for next week’s battle royale is to “maybe not have a 95 foot tall basketball man at ringside”, but before they can elaborate further, the Gunns and Big Bill attack and lay them out.
Meanwhile, Orange Cassidy and Detective Danhausen investigate the attack on their friends. Danhausen is sure that it’s Jarrett and Lethal, but Bryce Remsberg stooges out the Gunns.
Toni Storm v. Willow Nightingale
Storm attacks Willow in the corner right away, but Willow hits her with a senton and they exchange shots in the corner. Storm takes her down with the hair and runs her to the floor with the hip attack. They brawl on the floor and Storm runs her into the railing to take over. They brawl out there and Toni hauls her back into the ring and puts the boots to her while Saraya chokes Willow out behind the ref’s back and then complains that she broke a nail. Toni slugs away on the mat for two and Fite takes a break. Back with Willow making a comeback, but she misses the cannonball and Toni gets the hip attack and DDT for two. But then Willow fires up and hits the cannonball on the second try, and a death valley driver gets two. Saraya takes the ref and Willow hauls her into the ring, but Toni hits Storm Zero for the pin at 7:55. They go for the spraypaint, but Ruby saves and then Jamie Hayter chases Saraya around the ring and to the back. A very decent match. **3/4.
Meanwhile, the Acclaimed aren’t scared of anyone in the four-way match, but Satnam Singh and JJJ attack and lay them all out to prove them wrong. And Sonjay tries to poke out Max’s eye with a pencil, which seems a bit of an overreaction.
Lance Archer v. Bryce Saturn
Jake Roberts is back with Lance again, and Lance backdrops this poor goof in the aisle and then hauls him in for a corner clothesline and slugs him down. Saturn breaks free of the chokeslam, so Lance lays him out with a crossbody and hits him with a lariat for the pin at 1:48. Gotta love Lance.
Meanwhile, Stokely Hathaway books Matt Hardy against Hook, and Matt is hesitant but then pretty sure he’s got things under control.
Action Andretti v. Sammy Guevara
Action with a rollup for two and he clotheslines Sammy to the floor and runs him into the railing, and then springboards off the railing with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Sammy tries a sunset flip and Andretti deadlifts him into a falcon arrow for two, causing Excalibur to resurrect “He’s done the deal” for the first time in ages as far as I can remember. Andretti dumps him and hits him with a 450 off the apron, but Sammy wins a mid-air collision back in the ring and takes over. Sammy with a chinlock and he stops to soak in his adoring fans and then goes up to the top, until Action cuts him off with an enzuigiri and brings him down with a superplex. Andretti with a backbreaker and Sammy takes a powder, so Andretti follows with a dive and then moonsaults him on the floor. Back in, Andretti with another moonsault, but that misses and Sammy piledrives him for two. Sammy goes up and misses whatever, allowing Andretti to comes back again with a springboard kick for two. Andretti tries a GTH and Sammy flips out of that, setting up a slugfest. Sammy wins that with a pair of knees and a superkick, but Andretti counters the Spanish Fly in mid-air for two. Jericho is desperately referencing Loverboy as Andretti hits a springboard swanton for two. Andretti drives him into the corner with a dropkick, but Garcia nails him behind the ref’s back and Sammy hits the GTH to finish at 10:05. They did the same basic finish in the women’s match earlier in the night, so I wish they would have come up with something else, but it was a hell of a main event. ****.
Clearly the best Rampage in ages, with a nice mix of styles and matches that flew by.