The SmarK Rant for AEW Rampage – 09.01.23
Granted I haven’t been watching this show with any regularity lately, but I’ve got three words for you that changed my mind tonight: YOUNG, TAN AND VASCULAR.
Taped from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Excalibur, Tony Schiavone & Chris Jericho
TAG TEAM BATTLE ROYALE:
The Outrunners immediately outclass everyone in the match with their muscularity, and everyone is so jealous that they eliminate “Goldie Rogers and Rip Rogers” according to Chris Jericho. That is OFFENSIVE. Well despite the immense disappointment of watching the youngest guys in wrestling getting eliminated before the commercial break, I’ll soldier on and finish reviewing the show. But I’m gonna be extra salty about it. Pretty Peter gets thrown out, but the Hardys have a wacky showdown with the Best Friends, until everyone attacks them. Aussie Open throws out Bishop Kaun, but Blade tries to put Toa out and gets dragged out for his troubles. Kyle Fletcher dropkicks Toa out right after, however. Am I supposed to know who the weird guys in the white suits are? I’m assuming they’re some kind of ROH guys that we’ve never met before. For those of you not watching on Fite, you don’t miss much during the break, but Jericho does namedrop Jack Tunney because he’s “a big fan of Maple Leaf Wrestling”. More aimless meandering around the ring here and the big guy in the while suit tosses out Butcher, but his partner gets clotheslined out by Jeff Hardy. But then he pulls out Matt on the way down, and Jeff gets thrown out by someone else. Action and Darius double-team the guy who is named Dutch, probably because he’s a cheapskate on dates, and Aussie Open send Action flying out of the ring with a ridiculous bump to the railing. You know why? Because he was dumb enough to stand on the top rope in a battle royale. I have zero sympathy. John Silver sends Darius out and I guess Alex Reynolds was tossed out earlier in the match. The Aussies throw out Chuck Taylor like he’s a sandwich without any vegemite on it, leaving us with a final four of Aussie Open, Johnny Hungie and Trent. Trent fights off the Aussies, but he gets hit with their double superkick and tossed. He skins the cat, however, and ducks a charging Fletcher to put him on the floor. Davis throws out Silver, but he lands in the arms of Alex Reynolds to save while Trent makes the comeback in the ring. They fight on the apron and do the guillotine finish, but Silver puts them both out to win the match at 11:42 and earn a shot at the prestigious ROH tag team titles on All Out!
No, seriously, why are you laughing? They really did that. Actual booking on a real wrestling show in 2023. Dark Order winning. Anyway, they sure do love their battles royale on Rampage and this sure was, uh, one of them! It happened and existed and you sure can’t take that away from it.
No, seriously, the Dark Order. Stop laughing. Not even on the pre-show or the dark match before the pre-show. On the actual honest to god PPV. You have to PAY MONEY to see this match.
Meanwhile, Aussie Open stops by the announce desk to trash talk Chris Jericho on behalf of Will Ospreay, or maybe just challenge him to a rousing game of knifey-spooney, but Sammy makes the save and they’re gonna go call the prime minister, they are! HEY, ANDY!
Meanwhile, Mike Santana talks about his journey thus far and wrecking his leg in Blood & Guts. Sounds like he’s already breaking off from Ortiz again. Hey, he deserves a shot at being a solo star. Maybe one of them can move to the CM Punk show.
Nick Wayne & Vikingo v. Kip Sabian & Gringo Loco
Not familiar with Mr. Loco but I assume he dislikes Vikingo. Vikingo spins away from Gringo a few times to start and they trade armdrags before Vikingo goes FLYING into the air for a dropkick off Gringo. Over to Nick Wayne, who also flies around with a headscissors before getting distracted by Penelope. The heels take over and Sabian moonsaults Wayne off the apron. Back in, Gringo Loco gets two. Wayne with a rollup for two, and a small package for two. Sabian slugs him down and Loco gets a press slam into a facebuster for two. Loco takes Wayne to the top for a Spanish Fly that gets two. Fite takes a break and we return with Gringo missing a moonsault while Jericho rants about the attack from Aussie Open. This is actually really funny because Jericho started to go on the rant during the PIP break and the other announcers basically told him to save it until they were back on the air again. So he waited until they were back from the break and then did his promo on them. Vikingo gets a hot tag and runs wild with a goddamn poison rana off the TOP ROPE on Gringo. Back to Wayne with Wayne’s World on Kip to put him on the floor, and Vikingo finishes Loco with a 630 at 8:18. So this was a shit hot opening, dull heat segment on Wayne, and then insanely hot finishing sequence. That probably played amazing with the break in the middle on TNT. ***1/2. That being said, none of these Dark Elevation jobbers are booked on the PPV and this was just filling time.
Meanwhile, on QTV, Johnny TV is in charge because QT is off in Mexico defending his new title. Does Johnny appear on any show other than Rampage? Is the CM Punk of Rampage? So Johnny wants the DIRT from his crew and dumps coffee on Harley to show how dirty he wants it. But she’s into it.
Hangman Page v. Bryan Keith
Before you ask, he’s no relation. Keith is the Bounty Hunter, complete with Man With No Name poncho. I approve. We haven’t had a good bounty hunter character in wrestling for a long time. Page flips away from him to to start and boots him into the corner before hitting a running elbow and beating on him with chops. Blind charge misses , but Page recovers with a lariat. Page gets cocky with him, so Bryan tosses him with an exploder and fights back with clotheslines. Page cuts him off with a fallaway slam and goes for the buckshot, but he wastes time throwing his elbow pad away and Keith cuts him off with an enzuigiri. But then Page hits it anyway to finish at 3:30. People on Twitter were all like “OH MAN THIS MATCH IS GONNA RULE IF THEY LET KEITH DO ANYTHING!” but they didn’t let him and the match didn’t rule and it was just a squash. 1/2*.
Meanwhile, 2.0 and Daniel Garcia think that maybe they were better off being pro wrestlers instead of sports entertainers but Daddy Magic pulls them together and Garcia dances on Renee while she desperately tries to not to break up.
Meanwhile, Renee sits down with Roderick Strong and his neck brace, but he doesn’t want to discuss his issues with Adam Cole. “Adam knows what he did!” That promo was absolutely written by someone who has been married before. I was dying at the perfect tone.
Taya Valkyrie & Anna Jay v. Willow Nightingale & Skye Blue
Willow trades suplexes with Taya to start and Skye comes in with a cartwheel into an elbow in the corner, which gets two. The announcers discuss the immense improvements from Skye over the past couple of years, which is interesting in the sense that Anna Jay has seemingly regressed almost as much as Skye has improved. Taya and Anna double-team Willow in the corner and Anna chokes her out and oddly the announcers don’t do any commentary in the PIP break. Willow gets worked over by the heels and Taya chokes her out on the ropes and legdrops her for two. More double-teaming and Taya gets the running ass in the corner for two. Willow goes for the tag and Anna pulls Skye off the apron to cut her off, but she gets it on the second try and runs wild with a crossbody on Anna for two. Knee strike gets two. Everyone does a really sloppy brawl and Anna in particular looks completely lost, and she superkicks Taya by mistake and Code Blue finishes Anna at 8:31. As much as I can appreciate the impressive display of booty contained within this match, it was a boring slog with a horrible finish that completely fell off a cliff. And on a show that should be desperately hitting the hard sell for the PPV at every opportunity, this had zero to do with the PPV and nobody in the match even has a current feud or anything going on. Because Tony Khan sure loves and respects his women’s wrestling! But other than all that, I had no issues with it. I’m glass half full kind of guy I guess. 1/2*.
I know this will come as a shock, but this was a complete nothing of a show that you missed nothing by inevitably skipping because literally no one watches it anymore. But the tag match was fun.
See I warned you that I was gonna be salty about the Outrunners.