The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 03.31.23
HOUSEKEEPING NOTES: I did order the ROH PPV, but I’ve been busy tonight and obviously won’t have time this weekend, so I’m just gonna do Rampage tonight (because it’s short) and then leave ROH until Monday or maybe Tuesday. I’m not really super concerned with spoilers because I’m more wanting to watch it for the match quality anyway.
Taped from St. Louis, MO
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur & Tony Schiavone. And Chris Jericho.
Sammy Guevara v. Konosuke Takeeshita
I’m still bitter about getting teased with Takeshita showing up at the airport in Winnipeg but then not appearing on the show. Sammy hits the dropkick and showboats to start, but he starts a chop war and loses that. Takeshita with the Warrior clothesline and he strikes a pose of his own. Sammy drops him on the top rope and follows with the senton legdrop to put him on the floor, but Takeshita tosses Sammy and hits him with a tope con hilo. Back in, Takeshita wants a deadlift german superplex, but Sammy rakes the eyes to escape and hangs him in the Tree of Woe for a corner dropkick to take over. Snap suplex gets two. Sammy tosses him again and Tay gets some abuse out there as Jericho clarifies that “cheating is French for winning”. I think he’s lying about that. Back in the ring, Sammy with kicks, but Takeshita hits a german suplex from his knees and puts him down with a lariat, and he blocks a rollup from Sammy and drops him with a deadlift german. Sammy comes back with a Spanish Fly for two and goes up for the shooting star, but he lands on his feet and they slug it out. Sammy with the destroyer and he tries for the cutter, but Takeshita catches him in mid-air with the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. They fight to the top again and Takeshita tosses him down with an awesome german superplex and follows with a lariat for two. Sammy with the GTH off Tay’s distraction, however, and he gets the pin at 9:31. Excellent opener but GODDAMMIT they need to stop beating Takeshita in every match. ****1/4.
QTV: QT discusses his new finisher, the Dirt Sheet Driver, and notes that he stole it from Kobashi (“The sausage?”) and all the marks love it already because it’s from Japan. IT’S NOT A DRIVER IT’S A POWERBOMB, AKSHULLY.
Brody King & Malakai Black v. Best Friends
The old farts on commentary discuss sleep apnea, showing they’re hip to the youth of today, and the Blacks beat the hell out of the Friends and take it to the floor for a further brawl out there. Back in the ring, Brody puts the boots to Chucky in the corner and chokes him out like you would a small child, which I’m sure we can all relate to, and Black hits a sliding knee for two. Black with a snap suplex on Chuck and Fite takes a break. Back with Chuck fighting back on Malakai, and he makes the hot tag to Trent, who runs wild on the House. DDT on King puts him on the floor and Trent follows with a tope suicida and then back in the ring with a missile dropkick on Malakai for two. Best Friends with the combo on Malakai and they stop for the HUG, but Brody King breaks that up because he has no love in his black heart. Trent manages to send Brody to the floor and tries another dive, but King catches him and slams him on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. They brawl on the floor and Brody powerbombs Chucky through the table while Black kicks a chair in Trent’s face, and the ref has had ENOUGH of this chaos and calls for a DQ at 10:42. Huh, I was just thinking that any other promotion would call for the DQ after the table shot. Kudos for pulling out the rare DQ at an appropriate time. The House goes for the beatdown on the beaten down Friends and Orange tries to make the save, but Buddy cuts him off and they finish their violence in the ring. A very enjoyable underdog v. monster tag match, although I still don’t why they had Brody do that job to Daniel Garcia in Winnipeg. Still makes no sense. ***1/4.
Meanwhile, the Keith Lee-Swerve feud carries on.
Taya Valkyrie v. Marina Shafir
Taya takes her down and hits a knee strike for two, but Marina fights back with chops while Jade and her entourage of doofuses watch from the ramp. Shafir tries to tie up Taya with a submission and gets nowhere with that, but Taya quickly comes back and finishes with Road to Valhalla at 2:34. Wow they packed a lot of suck into 2 minutes here. DUD. So with Taya having used Jade’s move, Mark Sterling sends a process server into the ring with legal papers, and of course she takes the Road to Valhalla as well. NOT THE PROCESS SERVER! I really hope they’re not going to stretch this out to Double or Nothing.
Meanwhile, Anna Jay is gonna choke Julia Hart out! Also her declaration of having a “phat ass” seems to be the start of her turn back to the babyface side again, which would be wise given her relationship with Jungle Boy is out in the open now.
Action Andretti v. Juice Robinson
So yeah, this is stretching the definition of “main event” about as far as it’ll go. Andretti takes Juice down with a headscissors for two and beats on him with chops in the corner before reversing a suplex attempt into a sleeper. Juice bails to the floor to escape and Action tries a dive, but Juice cuts him off with a forearm and sends him into the stairs. Back in the ring, Juice with a senton for two. Juice sends him to the apron, but Andretti flips back in again and comes back with spinning forearms to put Juice on the floor, which sets up the dive. He follows with a springboard moonsault to the floor, and back in with a springboard clothesline and a tornado DDT for two. Superkick and Andretti goes for the finish, but he runs into a leg lariat from Juice and THE JUICE IS LOOSE finishes at 8:53. The physics of that DDT were kind of weird and I like the Pulp Friction as a finisher better but the match was good here. ***1/4. Action Andretti is the 2023 equivalent of Freddie Joe Floyd and Sal Sincere, though: The guy who got a fluke win over a star to establish him as someone for the fans to care about a little bit, who then in turn can lose every other match following. He’s the very definition of a Jobber to the Stars.
I thought this was a pretty enjoyable show with some good matches, and is worth checking out this week. I hope to hell they actually have something worthwhile for Battle of the Belts next week to justify the live show but they’re batting 0 for 5 with those so far. Maybe they’ll just blow off the Taya-Jade feud there and move on to something better for Jade, I dunno.