The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 07.14.23
By Scott Keith on 15th July 2023
The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 07.14.23
VACATION TIME! I officially turned off my alarm clock for the next two weeks.
Taped from SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, home of the famous Saskatoon Slam, when MJF lifted up the 800 pound Big Bill in front of 198,000 screaming Maxamaniacs and put him through the mat, brother. Also this is airing on TSN tonight because of Canadian Content Rules.
To be honest I was pretty tired by the end of the taping so I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to the show, so this should be all new to me again. I will say that a surprising percentage of the crowd stayed for the entire Rampage taping, more than were still around for the Winnipeg show. Probably because everyone wanted to get the hell out of Winnipeg.
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Excalibur & Chris Jericho
Dustin Rhodes & Keith Lee v. Daddy Magic & Cool Hand Ang
Parker pulls out his switch-comb right away but can’t execute properly, so Keith chops him down and then slams both guys, before slamming Dustin onto them both. Dustin takes them down with armdrags and fights them both off, but Menard dumps him and 2.0 takes over. Daddy Magic chops away in the corner and they get some double-teaming on Dustin and we take a break. Back with Dustin making the hot tag to Keith Lee, who decides to just splash both guys in the corners with alternating shots and then toss Dustin at them. 2.0 manages a double DDT on Lee for two, but Keith just tosses them around again and finishes Parker with the Supernova slam at 10:00. Just an OK opener. **.
Meanwhile, it’s QTV, as Aaron Solo is still suffering from a Hobbs spinebuster. Also Johnny TV jumps out of a pool and accuses the Acclaimed of getting BURNED by HOT FIRE from Harley. The deluded doofus is a much better fit for him so I approve of this.
Taya Valkryie v. Izzy McQueen
Izzy is local talent, and she gets speared and curb stomped at 0:20. This brings out Toni Storm & Saraya to accuse Taya of being a loser due to being Canadian. So Taya points out that they’ve never wrestled, so tomorrow night they’ll wrestle at Battle of the Belts 7.
Meanwhile, Hook has had enough of Jungle Boy and so they shall wrestle for the FTW title in Boston. This wasn’t shown in the building.
Trent Beretta v. Lance Archer
Lance has JAKE THE SNAKE with him again tonight and Jake got one of the biggest babyface pops of the night, although not as big as the legendary Saskatoon Slam, which will be talked about for years along with the Bret Hart title win in 1992. Oddly the production mutes the “Jake the Snake” chants at the beginning of the match, which were THUNDEROUS. Archer blitzes Trent to start and chokes him out on the ropes, but he goes for a powerbomb and Trent counters to a sunset flip. Lance casually cuts that off, but Trent baits him into a charge and puts him on the floor as a result. Trent hits a moonsault to the floor, but the Best Friends stop to hug and Jake hits Trent with the short arm clothesline to a giant babyface pop as we take a break. Again, they really downplayed the volume of the reaction here. We take a break and return with Trent making a comeback with a piledriver for two. Archer catches him with a high knee, but Trent counters a chokeslam into a rollup for two. Trent goes up and Archer brings him down with the Blackout and finishes with a lariat at 8:35. This was basically a very extended squash for Archer. **1/4. So Archer calls out Orange Cassidy as the next challenger to the International title, at Battle of the Belts, and Orange comes out to answer. Jake immediately steals the backpack and tells him to come get it back in Calgary. So in the arena, Jake actually dropped the belt out of the backpack by mistake, and Orange got it back, but they thankfully cut that out here because that would have looked silly.
Konosuke Takeshita v. Mentallo
The whole Don Callis package is amazing, from the droning “music” to the scar on his forehead and the shiny shoes. Callis points out that Mentallo trained with Omega, and then asks him if he knows the Japanese word for “kill” before telling Takeshita to kill in Japanese. Takeshita gets some shots in the corner, but Mentallo gets some offense and goes up, at which point Takeshita brings him down with a delayed superplex, so delayed they should call it the end of the WGA strike. Takeshita with a Big Bang Theory piledriver and he goes up with the diving senton to finish at 4:03. He actually gave Mentallo way too much here and should have just murdered him. *
Meanwhile, the Dark Order join Renee in an interview we didn’t get in the arena. They’re really pissed off at Hangman leaving them after they made him World champion, so now they’re going full evil again.
Tomorrow night: I feel dirty saying this, but I think they should put the tag titles on Bullet Club, because them defending against MJF & Adam Cole would probably break the internet and I’m there for it.
Owen Hart tournament semi-final: Athena v. Willow Nightingale
My wife noted that Willow’s in-ring presentation doesn’t really match her pink frilly video wall. I’m just impressed she remembered who Willow was, since she’s a total non-viewer. A CASUAL, if you will. They trade takedowns and Athena stops to mock her, so Willow hits her with an elbow in the corner and chases her to the floor. Back in, Athena catches her with a shot to the knee and puts her down with a kick to the back for two. Dropkick to the ribs gets two. We take a break and return with Athena trying for her own version of the SASKATOON SLAM, but Willow hits her with a pounce and makes the comeback. Spinebuster gets two. They slug it out with chops and Willow misses a senton, allowing Athena to get a moonsault for two. Willow with a death valley driver for two. Willow tries a cannonball and Athena clips the knee to counter, but Willow rolls her up in a cradle for the pin at 10:12 to advance to the finals. This was a good match to end the show.
A bland, timid entry, suitable perhaps for patients recovering from surgery. Tomorrow night is the real five alarm chili cook-off.