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Lucha Brothers Vs. Butcher and Blade: MISS
Another good opening match with an underwhelming build. I don’t expect much for television matches, but would it hurt to show some quick highlights of the challengers’ victories on Dark? That is primarily where they seem to have accrued their victories, as I don’t remember seeing them on television as a tag team in a while.
As far as the match itself, there was a bit too much disregard for rules, and it wasn’t athletically exciting enough to allow me to ignore that. I also think doing a mask-related gimmick with the Lucha Brothers in every match just takes away its meaning when it happens in bigger matches.
Post-Match Angle: MISS
I don’t understand why Santana and Ortiz came out for the save. Apparently, they have history with the Lucha Brothers, but leave it to AEW to just drop that on its viewers with no build up or context of what happened outside their company.
In addition, throughout this match we had babyface Chris Jericho praising the heels, claiming he would love to “have drinks with” Butcher and Blade if they won tonight. He even went so far as to scold Alex Abrahantes for trying to save his clients from being beat up after the match. After that, members of his own faction run in for the save, and we now suddenly need to get behind the babyfaces again. This was an extremely poor performance on commentary.
Omega-Danielson Promo Package: HIT
This was simple, effective, and well done. Neither wrestlers are the best talkers in the business, but they did what they needed to here. Both came off as top-tier acts deserving to main event Grand Slam.
Anna Jay vs. The Bunny: MISS
I am really disappointed with AEW sticking women’s matches in the middle of Rampage with long commercial breaks. It’s become a pattern on this show, and it makes these “Hit” or “Miss” ratings quite difficult to do. From what I saw, the match wasn’t good. I appreciate Bunny trying to add psychology into the contest by working over Anna Jay’s shoulder, but she targeted the wrong shoulder. Jay’s opposite shoulder was the one heavily bandaged. I understand they don’t want to risk re-injuring it, but if it’s heavily bandaged, just work on another body part instead.
The commentary in this match was also largely awful. From the banter leading up to babyface Jericho proclaiming, “Ricky Starks likes crazy chicks” to Taz saying “a lot of angry blonde girls in the ring,” among other things. I really think AEW would benefit from some diversity at their announce desk. At least for women’s matches.
Matt Hardy Segment: HIT
While the Matt Hardy brand hasn’t exactly been riveting television, just take a moment to appreciate the effort that is being put into AEW’s lower mid-card. There is at least some story here that is easy enough to follow. Now, hair vs. hair may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for your lower mid-card involving two comedic characters with some credibility, it works fine.
I think Matt Hardy is good in his current character, and this was a good way to get more heat. Helps to have a show like Rampage where such acts can get TV time to advance their stories, instead of shooting most angles on Dark and then expecting us to care for the TV match.
Ruby Soho and Britt Baker Promo Battle: Minor HIT
I am probably in the minority here, but I didn’t think this was a good segment. While I like the way these two wrestlers carry themselves, as well as the poise and confidence in the way they deliver their lines, I don’t think resorting to meta zingers such as Soho’s firing is an effective build for this feud. I also don’t really care that Baker is “banging some dude in the back.” How is that aspect of her personal life relevant in this instance? There’s a time and a place for meta comments and AEW just does it so frequently that they are starting to lack any impact with me. This promo battle, to me, felt more like one of John Cena’s self-indulgent promos that he delivers when he doesn’t seem to respect his opponent too much. It pushes me to put my time toward reading pro-wrestling newsletters instead of watching the shows. I think both wrestlers are capable of putting together a feud based on an actual storyline instead of having to resort to zingers that pop the insider crowd.
However, the crowd seemed to eat this up, and they were more into this than anything else on the show. Sometimes, you just need to respect what works for the majority. It’s not always about me and my preferences. In fact, this show would probably have been a waste of an hour without this segment. For these reasons, I’m classifying it as a “minor HIT.”
Main Event Promo: HIT
This was one of the better interviews I’ve seen. Miro is a much better promo and more compelling personality than Kenny Omega, and I wouldn’t mind if the company decided to swap championships overnight.
Miro vs. Fuego Del Sol: MISS
The length of this match did not do it any justice. Fuego did not stand a chance, and his hope spots in this match did not excite the crowd the same way they did in their first bout. Miro’s usually great mannerisms in the ring weren’t enough to save this match.
Post-Match Angle: HIT
Sami will be a fresh, believable, and compelling new opponent for Miro. I understand that AEW hasn’t utilized Miro’s recent feuds to their fullest potential, but I trust they will let both wrestlers really sink their teeth into a compelling rivalry here. There is already some built-in backstory here, with Sami wanting to avenge his friend.
Commentary: Major MISS
The commentary tonight felt like Monday Night Raw circa 2014 with Cole, Lawler, and JBL. Excalibur the straight play-by-play guy who is competent but devoid of personality, Taz is like Lawler back then who has no consistency to his character, and Jericho not only lacks consistency but was also extremely grating tonight. I found myself actually missing JBL’s incessant “9.99” plugs. Ricky Starks spoke about as much as Mark Henry, so he doesn’t get a grade. See above for specific examples of poor commentating.
Overall show: MISS
This was quite possibly the weakest episode of Rampage to date.