The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 05.19.23
Taped from Austin, TX
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Excalibur, Chris Jericho & Tony Schiavone
The Blackpool Combat Club v. Best Amigos
Moxley beats on Bandido with knees to start, but Bandido dropkicks him out of the corner to chase him off. That little shit Wheeler Yuta comes in and slugs it out with Trent after spitting on Chucky. So Chuck beats on him outside and smashes him into the railing a few times, only for Yuta to clip the knee. Back in the ring, Claudio with a suplex and elbow for two, but he escapes and brings Trent in for some suplexes on Moxley. The Amigos clear the ring and we get triple dives, but Trent springboards in and lands on Claudio’s forearm. Sucks to be him. So the BCC works on Trent in the corner while Jericho rants on commentary and he’s STILL carrying a grudge over last year’s Anarchy match, just because Eddie Kingston tried to light him on fire with a gas can! God, let it go already. Claudio with a cravat on Trent, but Trent backslides him for two. Moxley with clotheslines in the corner, but Trent fights back with a tornado DDT and Bandido gets the hot tag and comes in with a headscissors on Claudio. West Coast Pop gets two. Claudio fires back and they slug it out, but Bandido gets to try his delayed suplex, which Claudio knees out of. So Yuta comes in and Bandido suplexes him instead, and Best Friends double-team him to set up the HUG. Chuck with the piledriver on Yuta for two, and the Seat Belt gets two. Moxley saves and everyone throws the big bombs, but Yuta rolls up Chucky for two. Claudio cuts off Chuck’s comeback, and Moxley hits the Death Rider to set up a flying splash from Yuta for the pin at 9:54. A fine opener with some fine wrestling. ***1/4.
Meanwhile, Kyle Fletcher gets his shot at Orange Cassidy on Dynamite.
TBS title: Jade Cargill v. Danni Bee
Usual paint by numbers Jade squash here at 0:33 as she finishes with a pump kick. But Jade isn’t done yet.
TBS title: Jade Cargill v. Genesis
Genesis proves not to be cut out for the land of confusion that is wrestling, and tonight tonight tonight she loses in 0:36 to make Jade 59-0. But Jade wants another challenge, so Taya Valkyrie answers and lays out Jade with the Road to Valhalla while the ref is distracted by Mark Sterling. So Taya gets the title match at the PPV, which is good because I’ll probably need a solid bathroom break and drink refill by that point in the night.
The Acclaimed & Daddy Ass v. Tony Nese, Josh Woods & Ari Daivari
Max works on the arm of Woods to start, and Daddy Ass comes in and tries an early fameasser on Ari, which misses. So Nese comes in and wants a posedown with Billy, and that’s tugging on Superman’s cape, and Billy hits a sideslam for two. Bowens comes in with the Scissors Me Timbers and they stop to scissor in celebration. Caster with a snap suplex for two. Woods comes in and mocks the scissoring as the Varsity Jobbers take over. Jericho meanwhile lies and claims that no one from the JAS was in the building on Dynamite because they were respecting the stipulation, which is of course a LIE because Sammy Guevara was on the show several times. Why do you have to lie, Chris? You make baby Jesus cry. Fite takes a break and we return with Woods working on Caster with a suplex, but Caster escapes and makes the hot tag to Bowens. He hits Nese with the guillotine, but Woods saves and Nese hits Bowens with a spinkick. But he’s got no partners to tag thanks to Daddy Ass doing the work outside, and the Acclaimed finish him with the Mic Drop at 7:27. Another fun match. **1/2
QTV: Aaron Solo denies hacking Matt Hardy’s Twitter account, and they’re apparently booked for the battle royale (but not Harley). QT is very excited that Hobbs is the featured guy on Collision, and excited for all the new people he can lay out! Buff Bagwell! The Blue Meanie! Tatanka! How can you not love these idiots?
The Hardys & Brother Zay join us, but Ethan Page interrupts and claims that he didn’t have anything to do with the Gunns booking matches on his behalf. So he wanted to be Kassidy’s friend and wanted to form a tag team – the Moan Event – but it’s all a setup and the Gunns attack and FUCK ME SIDEWAYS this is apparently a six man at the PPV. Correction, now THAT’S a bathroom break match. Sadly, Kassidy will never moan again in this business.
Meanwhile, on Dynamite, Roderick Strong upsets Chris Jericho with the help of Adam Cole and some ice cream in the face. Apparently Mr. Softee is a whole thing that we here in Canada have no frame of reference on. Yeah well, we have New York Fries so sucks to be you, America. So Jericho challenges Adam Cole to an unsanctioned match at the PPV, which nullifies their legal agreement. So Cole enters the building, free from legal entanglements, and we take a break.
Back with Cole entering through the crowd and attacking Jericho, as they do a very poor tribute to Frye and Takayama. I really wish guys with arms as skinny as Cole would stop trying to do that spot. Also he doesn’t have the mustache game to pay it off like Don Frye.
Dustin Rhodes v. Bischop Kaun
This is exactly the sort of main event that explains why the show did 200,000 viewers or whatever it was last week. Dustin clotheslines him to the floor right away and they slug it out down there. Back in the ring, Kaun chokes him out on the ropes while Excalibur earns his pay and runs down the PPV card and next week’s Dynamite as well. Kaun tosses Dustin and busts him open via a bump into the camera. Come on, Dustin is gigging himself for THIS GUY? Kaun with a draping neckbreaker off the apron and back in that gets two. Kaun with a bulldog choke while Dustin bleeds all over the mat and it turns into a lengthy chinlock through the TNT commercial break. Dustin fights out of that and slugs away in the corner, and the Code Red gets two. Piledriver gets two. Kaun with a sunset flip for two, but Dustin bulldogs him out of the corner and finishes with the Final Reckoning at 8:45. I feel like Peter Griffin yelling “OH MY GOD WHO THE HELL CARES?” at this stuff. **1/4. Swerve and Brian Cage attack afterwards, but Keith Lee leaves his early bird special dinner to make the save. So the Mobile Emissaries all attack him and Cage lays him out and the heels do heel stuff to end the show. A really dull ending to what was a pretty good show by Rampage standards up until then. But Swerve and Keith Lee have been feuding for what must literally be longer than the existence of AEW by this point and neither guy is going anywhere. And running on a booking treadmill is a bad idea for Keith Lee these days, what with his respiratory issues and all.
This one had moments, but the main event was a drag and Dustin does not need to be bleeding all over the ring for Random ROH Geek #18, especially when it’s not actually leading to a match on the PPV as far as I can tell.