AEW RAMPAGE HITS & MISSES 9/24: Punk vs. Hobbs a hit, Matty Hardy and HFO not clicking, more

BY HITEN DAVE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

C.M. Punk vs. Powerhouse Hobbs: HIT

Solid opening match. Punk looked alright, and he gave Hobbs quite a lot for someone who mainly wrestles on AEW’s shoulder programming. The only “ugly” part was a top-rope hurricanrana that could have ended badly for Powerhouse Hobbs.

I wish Punk didn’t visibly pat Hobbs’s chest after the match. When the feud has involved vicious sneak attacks, and the match itself isn’t a spectacular contest, leave the congratulations for backstage or find a more subtle way of doing it. Moments like that need to be reserved for when it’s warranted in the storyline.

Thunder Rosa/Nyla Rose/Jade Cargill Video: HIT

This was fine. I’m glad they are now trying to feature Thunder Rosa and Nyla Rose on TV instead of relegating them to shoulder programming.

Adam Cole and the Young Bucks vs. Christian Cage and Jurassic Express: HIT

This is the match I was most looking forward to, and it didn’t disappoint. Very exciting match that generated good heat for an eventual Adam Cole vs. Jungle Boy singles match. I just hope their rivalry has more dimension than just “you super kicked me.”

I also noticed that Luke Gallows was the only member of the Good Brothers at ringside. Based on Karl Anderson’s behavior on social media recently, this is a good thing.

Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky vs. Chris Jericho and Jake Hager: HIT

A good match. The Men of the Year desperately needed a television victory, and beating two members of the Inner Circle is good for them. Although Jake Hager does absolutely nothing for me, Jericho looked pretty good here.

Post-Match Beatdown: HIT

I don’t understand why Jericho and Hager just let Dan Lambert go when they saw the army of UFC goons coming out. They could have just held him hostage, or at least gone through with the punch.

I don’t know any of the fighters involved here, but they came across like a big enough deal for me to be curious for what happens next.

Lucha Brothers, Santana, and Ortiz vs. Private Party, The Butcher, and The Blade: HIT

The promo to build-up this match was a little over-cooked with near-death threats. However, the match itself was a fun little spot fest in the middle of the card, and exactly what it needed to be. WWE needs to learn from AEW that it’s actually okay to put hometown wrestlers over.

Matt Hardy Promo: MISS

A well-delivered promo for a mid-card heel. Matt Hardy is good in his current character. However, while I understand heel Matt Hardy wanting risk his minion’s hair instead of his own, Jack Evans has very little heat with me. He’s largely been featured on shoulder programming. I don’t even have a passing interest in seeing Jack Evans get his hair shaved.

Miro Interrupts Fuego Del Sol and Sami Guevara Cue-Card Segment: HIT

The cue-card stuff worked better for Sami when he was a heel. However, the Miro beatdown was fun to watch. He’s probably the most compelling and complete character in this company right now.

Andrade Promo: HIT

This was fine. Good to keep him on people’s minds. I’m still disappointed that he’s lost Chavo, but curious to see what’s next.

Anna Jay vs. Penelope Ford: UNABLE TO JUDGE

This match was far too short either side of the commercial break. I can’t give a fair rating to it.

Post-Match Angle with Dark Order: MISS

I would much rather have seen more of the match than have to watch this. First off, there was no reason for Matt Hardy’s faction to come out and form a wall when Bunny and Ford had no issues beating down Anna Jay previously. The men don’t ever run down to interfere in the women’s affairs, so that was pretty contrived on its face.

In addition, most of Dark Order’s story and individual character growth has happened on AEW’s shoulder programming. However, on television, it just seems like a bunch of no-names randomly aligning with whoever. During these angles, each member wants to get in all their stuff in the short time they are given. Sometimes, they make references to obscure happenings that I either don’t remember because of how packed the shows are, or because it happened on shoulder programming. This doesn’t really help me understand the dynamics very well, and it feels to me that this story has more depth than what we’re seeing on television. I love the Dark Order whenever I make time to watch BTE, but I can’t always do that with my schedule, and other viewers shouldn’t be expected to either. I’m sorry, but this has to be a “MISS.”

Main Event Promo: MISS

The television build to this match has been very underwhelming. Most of it is simply “you are someone who likes to mutilate yourself, I’m someone that likes to mutilate myself, so let’s each grab a partner and try to out-do each other on a big stage.” A match with a stipulation like this needs a more personal build for me to get invested.

I could barely follow this promo once Kingston started talking. I feel like he gets far too excited and just isn’t willing to use his gift of gab to its full potential. Your only audience isn’t just the hometown crowd tonight. There are also about a million people at home, many of whom don’t even know how this match came to be (apparently, an angle involving Archer took place on Dark). Instead of downplaying these interviews as “just talk,” why not try to maximize the promo time you are given?

In addition, if anyone is wondering who AEW’s Big Show or Kane is going to be (in terms of back-and-forth heel and babyface turns), look no further than Lance Archer.

Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston vs. Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer: MISS

The match itself was a fun TV brawl, but I just wasn’t that interested in seeing any of these wrestlers take a beating. Lance Archer tried to get heat by beating up some civilians, but when the lead announcer prefers to talk about how cool his partner’s theme song is, why should I care? And from the contrived, temporary light-dimming in the beginning to the babyfaces requiring a friend to help, this felt more like a match to entertain the hometown fans instead of me. If you don’t have much affection for Minoru Suzuki or Homicide, this match is actually quite skippable.

In addition, leave it to AEW to water down the concept of a “lights out” match. They aren’t doing as much damage to the stipulation as WWE is to Hell In A Cell, but it’s still disappointing.

Commentary: HIT

The commentary was mostly fine tonight, and I especially liked Taz staying true to his heel character instead of morphing into a different person. My only gripes were as follows:

  • I don’t appreciate Excalibur putting over the theme song of someone whose partner was knocking out innocent civilians at the exact same moment.
  • Taz and Starks’s cackling during the Miro segment was a bit over-the-top, but I’m just happy they are sticking to character.
  • Ricky Starks had some smart lines. For example, he mentioned that Chris Jericho’s theme song was about Jericho turning on the fans, which is a great way for a heel to point out the ironic nature of fans singing this song. However, he immediately followed that up with a self-congratulatory “I’m an analysis,” which makes him come off completely pathetic. Other than a few additional witty moments, Starks was quite ordinary.

Overall show: HIT

Very good show tonight. I actually enjoyed this more than Dynamite on Wednesday. However, I really hope Rampage isn’t expanded to two hours.


CATCH-UP: 9/24 AEW RAMPAGE TV REPORT: Punk vs. Hobbs, Kingston & Moxley vs. Suzuki & Archer, Lucha Bros. & Santana & Ortiz vs. Hardy Family Office Cole & Bucks vs. Christian & Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy, Jericho & Hager vs. Ethan & Sky

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