AEW RAMPAGE HITS & MISSES 1/7: Jake Atlas stands out, Dan Lambert delivers, Kingston takes over tag match, more

BY HITEN DAVE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

AEW Dynamite analysis
Eddie Kingston (photo provided to PWTorch courtesy AEW)

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

Adam Cole defeated Jake Atlas: HIT

For those of you who don’t know, Jake Atlas is a good worker who was recently released from WWE, where he competed in the NXT brand. He was mostly used as glorified enhancement talent, which I thought was a disservice to his abilities in the ring. He also used to work with Jungle Boy prior to AEW, but when the company was getting off the ground, he opted to sign with WWE.

I thought this was a well-worked wrestling match. Atlas can’t just be launched to Jungle Boy-like stardom right away, but I like that he’s getting some television time instead of remaining on Dark for months. It was a good move by the company to showcase highlights of his one match on Dark last week as promotion for this match. However, in AEW canon, I don’t understand why Adam Cole would want to fight Atlas.

Atlas was reportedly injured during the match. I hope he’s okay. It would suck for him to miss significant time immediately after making a debut.

After the match, Cole, O’Reilly, and Fish were about to beat down Atlas but Best Friends made a save.

Battle of the Belts Announcement: MISS

A pre-recorded message aired stating that Cody Rhodes is not medically cleared to compete tomorrow, so his brother, Dustin Rhodes, will take on Sammy Guevara to crown an “interim TNT champion.”

I hope Cody is fine and wish him a speedy recovery. The fact that a new TNT champion will be crowned instead of just postponing the match by a week or two is a bad sign, so I hope he doesn’t have to miss too much time. Extended time away may soften people’s reaction toward him, like it did with Cena, but I’d rather see his character evolve on television.

That being said, Dustin Rhodes is an underwhelming replacement. I like Dustin, and many adults in their 50s would love to be able to do what he can at his age, but I think AEW is missing the ball by not giving this spot to a talent like Scorpio Sky instead. More on this below.

Andrade El Idolo Backstage Interview: MISS

Andrade explained that the reason he walked in the Darby Allin match last week is because he was upset that Darby Allin “worked” for Sting, When Schiavone clarified that they are friends, Andrade proceeded to ask Sting how much he would charge to work for him.

This was confusing. Why lead off with a question about Darby’s allegiance when the person you want is his friend? It would have made more sense to make Sting the subject of the conversation at the beginning.

Hook defeated Aaron Solo (w/ QT Marshall): MILD HIT

Hook continues to showcase a subtle charisma and crisp ring style. The crowd wasn’t as hot for Hook as previous weeks, but the reaction was still good.

After the match, QT Marshall confronted Hook and got knocked out. I really hope this doesn’t lead to a feud with him.

Ricky Starks Promo: MILD HIT

Starks briefly got up from the commentary booth to announce that he would face Matt Sydal tomorrow night at Battle of the Belts. This was one of Starks’s better promos, explaining that he is going to send a message to Dante Martin by beating one of his friends. However, I wish he delivered it with a microphone instead of commentating headsets. I’m sure the people in the arena would love to hear this news as well.

Penelope Ford and Bunny Video Promo: MILD MISS

This was fine, but I don’t understand why we are hearing from the losers and not the winners. Anna Jay and Tay Conti need to be followed-up with first, and if I were Ford and Bunny, I would show a bit more agony of defeat.

Riho and Ruby Soho defeated Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter: HIT

This was a nice, solid match to fill the middle of the show. The story was that Britt Baker still hasn’t ever beaten Riho, even in tag matches (granted, it was Hayter who took the pin tonight).

After the match, there were signs of dissension between Hayter and Baker, but I doubt it’s leading anywhere soon.

Dan Lambert and Men of the Year Promo: HIT

It was good to remind us that Scorpio Sky hasn’t been pinned in almost a year. This makes it the choice of Dustin Rhodes over Scorpio Sky for a shot at the TNT title even more confusing.

If this plays into a story that the “system” is rigged against Men of the Year and Scorpio Sky still manages to come out on top, it will be more tolerable. However, a heel fighting the administration isn’t really the best story to tell. In a perfect world, Cody would be the “establishment” heel and babyface Scorpio Sky chases after and wins the TNT title.

Main Event Interview: HIT

2.0 were correct, “you got nothing to say.” That’s because this has been a very weak feud. We still don’t know who 2.0 and Daniel Garcia are, or how Eddie Kingston is friends with Santana and Ortiz.

While the heels were talking, the babyfaces just left from camera view and attacked them during the interview. Mark Henry went from “well, I think there’s been enough talk” to “well, looks like the fight has already begun.” For a feud like this, which is based solely on the heels attacking babyfaces backstage for no reason, this was the optimal way to start the match.

Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz defeated Daniel Garcia and 2.0 in a Street Fight: MILD HIT

Entertaining brawl, but AEW has done little to make me emotionally invested in either team. The crowd only cared to the extent that they like seeing Eddie Kingston.

In addition, Jericho’s comedy slightly distracted me from whatever gravitas the wrestlers were trying to establish in the street fight.

After the match, the heels ambushed the babyfaces and Jericho made the save.

Commentary: MILD HIT

Jericho was back at the announce booth after several weeks away. He wasn’t at his worst, but he sometimes took me out of the show.

Overall Show: MILD HIT

A good show with minimal weak spots.


CATCH-UP: 1/7 AEW RAMPAGE TV REPORT: Cole vs. Atlas, Hook vs. Solo, Hayter vs. Riho & Ruby Soho, Garcia & 2.0 vs. Kingston & Santana & Ortiz

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