Date: May 19, 2023
Location: Moody Center, Austin, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Chris Jericho
The tossed around schedule continues as we are on three and a half hours earlier this week. What matters here is having some higher star power this week, as Rampage has been all over the place with who actually appears on the show. Odds are the Hardys will be back again and once again dealing with Ethan Page so let’s get to it.
Best Friends/Bandido vs. Blackpool Combat Club
Yeah I’d call this a bigger match. Moxley takes Bandido into the corner to start but Bandido flips out and hits a dropkick. It’s quickly off to Yuta vs. Chuck with Yuta taking over, allowing Castagnoli to add a suplex. Back up and the Best Friends clear the ring, setting up the stereo dives, with Bandido adding an Asai moonsault. Trent tries a high crossbody on Moxley back inside but Castagnoli uppercuts him out of the air for a bit knockdown.
We take a break and come back with Chuck hitting a tornado DDT on Moxley for a needed breather. Bandido gets the hot tag and comes in with the corkscrew high crossbody. A suplex into the Soul Food/dragon suplex drops Yuta and Chuck adds his piledriver for two. Everything breaks down and the Club clears the ring. The Death Rider into an assisted top rope splash gives Yuta the pin on Chuck at 9:43.
Rating: B-. This is the kind of thing I wouldn’t mind being featured a lot more on Rampage: some bigger names getting some time to showcase themselves in a match you might not see otherwise. The Club are involved in one of the two biggest angles going today and the fans are always going to respond to the Best friends. It was a good match as a bonus, but this already felt like one of the more interesting things on Rampage in a bit.
Video on Kyle Fletcher vs. Orange Cassidy.
TBS Title: Jade Cargill vs. Danni Bee
Cargill, with Mark Sterling, is defending and retains with the pump kick at 37 seconds.
Post match Mark Sterling says get another challenger out here.
TBS Title: Jade Cargill vs. Jennasis
Jade is defending and retains with a pump kick into Jaded at 30 seconds.
Sterling says that’s 59-0 so let’s make it 60. Another challenger comes out but here is Taya Valkyrie to take her out. Taya gets in the ring and hits Jade with the Road To Valhalla. The challenge is on for Double Or Nothing.
Acclaimed/Billy Gunn vs. Varsity Athletes
Caster takes Woods down into an armbar to start before Gunn comes in to knock him into the corner. It’s off to Daivari, who has to avoid the Fameasser attempt. That means Nese comes in to pose a bit, with Gunn taking his shirt off to match things up. Gunn plants Nese and we take an early break. Back with Caster and Woods knocking each other down, allowing Bowens to come in and clean house. Nese kicks him down but Bowens is right back with the Arrival. The Mic Drop gives Caster the pin at 7:26.
Rating: C. They kept this one quick as Acclaimed and Gunn seem likely to be on their way towards a Trios Title shot. The fans don’t quite care about them as much as they did but they are still warm enough to be reheated to that level rather easily. Now just keep the Varsity Athletes off television/Ring Of Honor for a good while and I’m much happier.
QTV is in the Blackjack Battle Royal for the International Title. Other than that, they’re happy for Powerhouse Hobbs to be on Collision, where the real story begins.
Here are the Hardys and Brother Zay for a chat. They are happy with their recent success but want the Tag Team Titles. Cue Ethan Page to say this match for his contract isn’t happening because he’s done with all of this. Page talks about how he and Zay were close and gets a rather forceful hug, only to have the Gunns come in and jump the Hardys with chairs. Zay’s neck gets Pillmanized for a bonus and the match is set for Double Or Nothing.
We look at Adam Cole costing Chris Jericho his match against Roderick Strong on Dynamite.
Jericho calls Cole a coward and swears vengeance. Cole pops up on split screen and says he’s going to make Jericho’s life a nightmare. Jericho isn’t having this and rips up the agreement saying Cole can’t be in the same arena. He’ll even face Cole in an unsanctioned match at Double Or Nothing! Cole comes inside and after a break, comes into the arena for the brawl. Security can’t quite keep them apart until Jericho is taken to the back.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Bishop Kaun
Prince Nana is here with Kaun, who jumps Rhodes at the bell. Dustin fights back and knocks him to the floor to take over. They trade chops against the barricade with Kaun dropping him hard as we take a break. Back with a rather busted open Rhodes getting planted, which seems to fire him up. Dustin hammers away and hits a Code Red for two. A piledriver gets the same and it’s a bulldog to drop Kaun again. The Final Reckoning finishes Kaun at 8:58.
Rating: C+. This was the kind of violent match that you would expect in Texas and it was nice to see Rhodes win here. If nothing else, it was a lot better without having commentary letting us know how this was his hometown over and over. In theory this keeps us on the road to Swerve Strickland vs. Keith Lee, though it would be nice to actually get there someday.
Post match Brian Cage comes in and beats up Rhodes, with Swerve Strickland joining in to watch. Cue Keith Lee the save but Cage and Kaun breaks up the staredown with Strickland. Cage hits an F5 and puts Lee in a chair for Swerve’s Stomp. The Mogul Embassy stands tall to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Perfectly nice show here, but more importantly it felt like some things actually mattered in the grand scheme of AEW. Maybe last week was just a misfire, but this felt like one of the more interesting/important editions of Rampage in a good while. Granted none of that matters as Collision is going to leave this show obsolete, but I’ll take a week of things being a good bit better.
Blackpool Combat Club b. Best Friends/Bandido – Assisted top rope splash to Taylor
Jade Cargill b. Danni Bee – Pump kick
Jade Cargill b. Jennasis – Jaded
Billy Gunn/Acclaimed b. Varsity Athletes – Mic Drop to Nese
Dustin Rhodes b. Bishop Kaun – Final Reckoning
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