The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 04.14.23
By Scott Keith on 16th April 2023
The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 04.14.23
Well now that I got Smackdown out of my system, might as well catch up on AEW again.
Taped from Milwaukee, WI
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross & Excalibur
IWGP tag team title: Aussie Open v. Best Friends
Trent trades shoulderblocks with Mark Davis and loses that battle, which brings in Fletcher for the double-team, but Trent manages to fight them off with a tornado DDT. The Aussies bail to the floor and Chuck hits them with a dive. Back in, Trent hits Fletcher with a flying bodypress for two. They fight on the floor and the Aussies slam the Friends on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING, and then ram them together for good measure. Back in, Davis hits a senton on Trent for two and they do a delayed suplex on Trent, so delayed they should call it Trump’s Legal Strategy, and Fletcher gets two off that. Over to Davis, who beats Trent down with chops in the corner, but Trent pops up to the top with a bodypress attempt on Davis. Davis catches him and drops him on Fletcher’s knee, and a cutter gets two off that. Chuck brawls with Davis on the floor while Trent makes a comeback with a superplex on Fletcher with help from Chuck. Luckily they stop for the hug to reenergize themselves, then hit a Doomsday Device on Fletcher for two. JR lets us know that it’s very reminiscent of the Legion of Doom. Hot take there. Chuck sets up Davis for a powerbomb, but Fletcher superkicks him to save and poor Chuck gets destroyed by a piledriver, double lariat, and the Correaolus at 9:45. The crowd is still having trouble getting into Aussie Open but man they’re great. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Sonjay Dutt continues trying to convince Mark Briscoe to join his team of doofuses. Satnam Singh grew up on a farm as well! Huge if true.
FTR joins Tony in the ring. Apparently they had Jay Briscoe’s name put on the faceplate of the belts, which is amazing. Cash announces that they’ve signed a new four year deal with AEW, and then after that they’re done with wrestling. Yeah OK. Dax wonders why people like them, then decides that it’s because this is their redemption story and people can relate to that. And they’re going to give us everything they’ve got for the next four years and then retire. Uh huh. Yeah sure, and I’ll suddenly become a huge Jay White fan as well.
Meanwhile, the Hardys and their young proteges announce that next week, they’re facing the Firm at the Hardy Compound in a “Firm Deletion” match.
Jeff Jarrett, Satnam Singh, Jay Lethal & Mark Briscoe v. Serpentico, Luther, Angelico & Jake Manning
Mark wants to give Manning a fair chance, but JJ attacks the guy from behind and then trips him up from the floor. Angelico comes in and eats the Stroke right away, and then Serpentico takes a shot at Satnam and gets tossed to the floor. The “Man Scout” gives it a try and gets chokeslammed, and then Mark Briscoe drops the big elbow to finish at 2:00. Jeff Jarrett just looks like he’s having the time of his life every week just doing dumb squashes like this and if anyone can sell the goofy storyline of Sonjay Dutt exploiting the grief of Mark Briscoe, it’s him.
Taya Valkyrie v. Emi Sakura
They trade chops in the corner to start and Taya puts her down with a corner clothesline and double knees for two. Emi tries a full nelson and Taya powers out of that and clotheslines her down for two. This brings out Jade to provide distraction, and Sakura drops her with an inverted DDT for two. Sakura with a backbreaker and she goes to a chinlock and chops Taya into the corner while Jade hangs out at ringside. So they trade more chops and poor JR is dumbstruck, and Fite takes a break. Back with Taya making a comeback with a german suplex and then going to beef with Jade, but Emi lays her out on the floor and smashes her into the stairs for good measure. Back in, that gets two. Taya fights back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for two, but Emi throws more chops, and Taya spears her down and finishes with Road To Valhalla at 8:33. Man they were just laying those chops in and JR didn’t know what to do with it. That’s the kind of stuff that’s gonna get Taya over with AEW crowds, not the dumb legal fight storyline. ***
Meanwhile, Jose the Assistant challenges Vikingo for next week on behalf of Dralistico.
The JAS joins us to show the Acclaimed how easy rapping is. Somehow Daddy Magic doesn’t completely crack up while Jake Hager is dancing in the background and then rapping about his purple hat. Also the Acclaimed might be adopted. Huge if true. This brings out the Acclaimed, who can’t even be bothered to rhyme tonight, and the brawl is on. Daddy Ass threatens to cut off the nipples of Daddy Magic, but luckily Hager saves him from that fate worse than death. One of these days someone is gonna do a purple nurple spot with Menard and I’m there for it. But maaaaaaaaan is this shit way down the totem pole for the Acclaimed now. They’re not even sniffing the ROH tag team titles at this point.
Jungle Boy Jack Perry v. Shawn Spears
Spears reappearing after being off for months is pretty random. Glad to see they switched back to the old school Mark Henry introduction again after doing the weird pretaped one. So Shawn apparently remains a babyface after the cameo in Toronto and claims not to be in cahoots with MJF any longer. Spears rolls up Perry for two and gives himself a 10 for that, but Perry takes him down with the wristlock and gives himself a 10. That’s gimmick infringement! Plus it was at best an 8.5. Jack tries a dive and gets caught, and they fight on the floor, where Spears tosses him into the crowd for a fight out there. Back in the ring, Spears beats on him with chops, but Perry fires back and they slug it out on the floor again before Spears gives him a delayed suplex, so delayed they should call it “Cody’s World Title Win”, but Perry reverses to his own suplex and they fight back in the ring again. To the top, and Spears brings him down with a superplex. Back to the top and they slug it out, before Jack gets a bodypress and Spears rolls through it for two and then boots Perry down. Jack fires back with superkicks and a comeback lariat for the double down. Perry tries a comeback and Spears catches him with a draping DDT for two. Shawn tries the C4 and Perry reverses to a rollup for two and a flatliner for two. Rollup gets two, but Spears puts him down with a backbreaker and tries a cradle, but Perry reverses to his own for the pin at 9:12. A really good main event to end a fun show. ***1/4
Gotta give the win to Rampage in the Friday night battle this week. I think it had the better wrestling and some entertaining goofiness in between. Neither show was really worth going out of your way to see but given a choice I’d pick Rampage this time.