The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 01.17.23
Photo update: Someone on the blog tipped me off to using the De-Haze filter in Photoshop under “Camera Raw” to fix the overexposure problem I was having, and it WORKED. Photoshop is pretty amazing. As we will learn from this show, post-production techniques in general can work wonders.
“St Patrick’s Day Slam!”
I personally chose not to wear green today and thus got pinched by my daughter due to some obscure statute of legality, but I am of course of direct Scottish descent and thus exempt from having to pay tribute to the Irish at this time of year and I will be contacting Mark Sterling for potential legal followup. It’s a law. You can look it up.
Taped from Winnipeg, MB. Hey I was there for this one too!
Your hosts are Excalibur, Paul Wight & Tony Schiavone
TNT title: Powerhouse Hobbs v. Rey Fenix
Much like most of the crowd, I was pretty burned out from Dynamite at this point so I wasn’t paying close attention to this one at the time. I was, however, amused watching this live because they made sure to switch all the railing banners to now indicate that Shazam was “Now Playing” instead of coming out later. Fenix tries to use speed to elude Hobbs and just bounces off him, so he tosses Hobbs and hits a pair of dives and a quebrada to put him down. Back in, Hobbs catches him with a slam for two and runs him into the railing. Hobbs beats on him and they head back in the ring, where Hobbs runs him into the corner and chokes him out. Hobbs goes to a nerve hold and follows with a suplex for two before going back to the hold again. Fenix escapes to the floor and QT gets a cheapshot out there, before Hobbs runs Fenix into the post in a nice bump. Back in, Fenix fights back with kicks and goes up, but Hobbs SWEEPS THE LEG and powerslams him for two. Fenix fights back again and tries a german suplex, then flips over him and gets it on the second attempt for two. Rolling cutter gets two. Hobbs retreats to the ropes, so Fenix hits the ropewalk kick, only for Hobbs to plow him into the corner and follow with a spinebuster for two. Fenix with the rebound kick and they’re both down for the double count. Fenix is up first and goes up with a frog splash for two. More superkicks from Fenix as he makes the comeback, but Hobbs catches him with another spinebuster and then finishes with the Burning Hammer at 14:15 to retain. Much better match on TV than it came off live, although the audio sweetening helped a lot too. ***1/2. Not a big fan of the QTV goobers hanging around with Hobbs full time, though. It makes Hobbs look second rate.
Meanwhile, Adam Cole returns March 29 in a promo we didn’t see in the arena. In fact they mostly just ran through the Rampage matches bang-bang-bang without much downtime.
Meanwhile, Stu Grayson issues a challenge to Jon Moxley to avenge Evil Uno. Kind of weird that Claudio is wrapped up in the Dark Order feud but suddenly pivots to defending the ROH Title against Eddie Kingston at the PPV at the end of the month.
Taya Valkryie v. Ava Lawless
Taya quickly takes Ava down and splashes her in the corner and hits double knees. Spear and Glam Slam or whatever she calls it finishes at 1:20.
Meanwhile, Matt Hardy tries to prepare Stokely for his match with Hook next week. Ethan questions why they’re slamming Stokely when Hook is a suplex machine?
2.0 v. The Bollywood Boyz
The Bollywood Boyz quickly double-team Parker with a Hart Attack, but Daddy Magic catches a Boy with a clothesline in the corner and Parker gets a snap suplex. They take him to the floor and run him into the railing as Excalibur clarifies that it’s Harv in there. Back in the ring, Matt chokes him out on the ropes and Harv gets a sunset flip for two. Fite takes a break as Harv fights out of the corner. Back with Gurv getting the hot tag, but the JAS quickly cuts him off and hits the double DDT to finish at 6:47. Not much to this one. *1/2.
Meanwhile, Don Callis meets Takeshita at the airport and welcomes him to Winnipeg as only he can. Unfortunately he didn’t work any of the shows so I’m not really sure why they flew him in.
Meanwhile, the Gunns confuse Top Flight with valet service, but stupidly leave their bags with them before storming off, which sets up a tag title match next week.
Brody King v. Daniel Garcia
So this was another big disappointment, as we didn’t know what the main event was going to be, and they hit the JAS intro and everyone was expecting to get Jericho, and instead we got Garcia and it kind of deflated the crowd. At least Jericho was at ringside for this one. Garcia runs away from Brody to start and attacks in the ring, but Brody immediately shrugs him off and beats him down. Yeah I can tell you that the crowd sounds were 100% sweetened for this one, there was nowhere near the noise you hear on TV for this. King takes him to the floor and beats on him with chops and then follows with the running splash onto the chair and runs him into the stairs. Garcia manages to fights back with a drop toehold and heads back into the ring, which had the lady beside me very confused because we couldn’t see what happened from our vantage point. So now we know. Although we don’t get this show in Canada so it’s not likely she’ll see it anyway. Back in the ring, Garcia gets a running boot in the corner and tries for the cloverleaf, but Brody fights out of it and Daniel necks him on the ropes and chokes him out. Brody comes back with a Black Hole Slam for two after too much dancing from Garcia and follows with the cannonball for two. Brody tries a piledriver and Garcia takes out the knee and goes for a sleeper while Wight does the quality Princess Bride reference. Brody whiplashes out of that and puts him down with a lariat, but Garcia rolls him up for two. Garcia with the Walls of Jericho, but Brody quickly makes the ropes to break. But Jericho knocks him out with the bat behind the ref’s back, and Garcia puts him in another sleeper and gets the win at 12:25. This was a weird booking decision and didn’t really make any sense on any level, and felt like a flat finish. However, the crowd sweetening improved the match about 126% if my estimate is correct, because the arena was D-E-A-D for this one live and they managed to salvage a reasonably hot crowd reaction in post production. **3/4.
I didn’t really like this one live, but it was a decidedly OK show once it made it to air. And I guess we’ll wrap up the reviews of my Winnipeg adventure with Dark Elevation on Monday!