SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Bryan Danielson vs. Eddie Kingston: HIT
Although I would have preferred the build-up to the match taking place on the actual shows instead of the first promo being on a reality show commercial, I was still able to invest in this match. Very physical, hard-hitting, and compelling. I wouldn’t call it “excellent” or “the best match in Rampage history,” but it may have been my favorite Eddie Kingston single’s match.
C.M. Punk/Eddie Kingston Backstage Jaw-Jacking: MINOR HIT
I didn’t expect Punk to transition into a feud with Kingston, but this was well done. It makes sense for Punk to be surprised and disappointed by Kingston’s antics instead of straight-up hostile right now.
However, both Moxley and Kingston having heelish violent outbursts at the same time feels a bit too coincidental to me. Kingston has almost no reason to revert back to his heelish ways, especially since we rather composed against Miro, who did worse things than either Danielson or Punk.
In addition, Ruby Soho being among the superstars to hold back Kingston defines her down a bit for me. I would not have had her at just another body to hold back the angry wrestler. She’s a bigger star than that.
Dante Martin (w/ Lio Rush) vs. Matt Sydal: HIT
Although this storyline has many logic gaps, and Dante Martin’s acting is under-par, this match was an excellent bell-to-bell athletic contest.
Main Event Interview: MISS
Mark Henry was back, and I heard him on Dark: Elevation this week, so management has clearly realized that he wasn’t getting a chance to learn by sharing a booth with Jericho.
This interview was mildly amusing, but they had nothing to talk about. This “feud” has had a pretty lacklustre build.
Britt Baker vs. Abadon: MINOR HIT
This match was more entertaining than the expected. There were no overtly supernatural phenomena or anything pushing the boundaries of human capability (and compared to a similar WWE match, this was lightyears more believable). It felt like Baker was in there with an eccentric but resilient mortal whose body is calloused enough to tolerate some kinds of pain (to the point that the Lockjaw submission wasn’t a viable option). However, despite her resilience, the Abadon character is still not the best wrestler and can be taken of via distractions.
It was also great to see the women’s match in the main event (as it should be with the champion), and not left at the mercy of a lengthy mid-show commercial.
Commentary: MINOR MISS
Chris Jericho bordered on unbearable this week. Not quite his worst performance, but still bad. And when Jericho has a bad week, he drags down all the announcers with him.
Overall Show: HIT
This was a thoroughly entertaining episode of Rampage. No major misses, and good structure.