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AEW RAMPAGE HITS & MISSES
Death Triangle defeated Butcher, Blade, and Marq Quen: HIT
A good win for the Death Triangle, who had faded away lately due to Fenix’s injury. The AHFO had also become an afterthought after they got rid of Matt Hardy, so it was nice to see them again.
Butcher and Blade were Chris Jericho’s Sports Entertainers of the Week. He justified it well by describing how they have improved. Butcher especially looks like he has an extra spring in his step since his return.
Post-Match Confrontation with House of Black: MISS
The lights went out, came back on, and House of Black were in the ring staring down Death Triangle. The lights went out again, and House of Black had disappeared.
These so-called “mind games” are too played out, and AEW doesn’t really have the announcer buy-in to really sell moments like this either.
Shawn Spears defeated Bear Boulder: MINOR HIT
Squash win for Spears heading into his bout with Wardlow on Dynamite next week. Bear did get some “big man” offense against Spears in the beginning, which Spears sold quite entertainingly. In the end, Spears beat him decisively, and they tried to sell the fact that Spears is very capable of taking on big men.
I like Spears’s Chairman gimmick for what it is, but his character has taken too much damage for me to ever take him too seriously. Thankfully, this didn’t take up too much time.
The AEW Rampage commentary team did a good job reminding us of the story between MJF and Wardlow. I didn’t mind Jericho building up Wardlow here as had a long history with MJF himself.
Tony Nese and Mark Stirling Backstage Interview: MINOR HIT
They addressed their tag match against Hookhausen on the Double or Nothing pre-show. Stirling has received a TON of television time this week, and he is slowly starting to find his groove as a manager with heat. However, he still has a long way to go before fans are hungry to see him get some comeuppance.
Ruby Soho defeated Riho to advance to the Semi-Finals of the Owen Hart Cup Tournament: HIT
Very good match that, in my opinion, should have opened the show in place of the Trios match. The match would have come across much better if it only had to contend with a 90-second commercial instead of the long one it got.
Since this was a taped episode of AEW Rampage, I was surprised to see that Martha Hart didn’t hang around to catch this match. Perhaps there was a taping delay and it got too late for her. They did show highlights of her on Dynamite, but I really wish they could have convinced her to stay for this match as well. It would have added some prestige to the Rampage brand as well. Maybe she’d have stayed if this was the opener?
Gunn Club and Acclaimed Backstage Segment: MAJOR MISS
I was worried that the addition of Billy Gunn being very involved faction would ruin it, and that’s exactly what happened. This segment was self-indulgent and horrendous. Whatever goodwill the Acclaimed had built up for weeks with their competitive matches is under threat now. Billy Gunn ought to remain off television. He’s way too patronizing.
Jade Cargill In-Ring Interview: MINOR HIT
Ignore the fact that the formation of the Baddies missed several chapters, the entourage really adds an aura to Cargill in a way that Britt Baker’s entourage never could. Mark Stirling was once again a busy man.
This was all done to build-up to an announcement that Hikaru Shida, Red Velvet’s opponent in the Owen Hart Cup, had been replaced by her former friend, Kris Statlander. If we had gotten more of a clean breakup between the two, and a slower build toward Velvet linking up with Cargill, this would have felt like a bigger deal.
Main Event Promo: HIT
Decent promo battle between Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky on this week’s AEW Rampage. They rehashed a lot of what had been said before, with both wrestlers showing respect for each other. I think Sky can easily remain a heel but have more integrity than being Dan Lambert’s laughing lackey.
Robot Excalibur Bulldozing Through Upcoming Matches: NARROW MISS
Effort appreciated, but I didn’t retain a single thing from this. There has to be a better way to promote things.
Scorpio Sky defeated Frankie Kazarian for the TNT title: HIT
This was a good back-and-forth match with both wrestlers showing an understanding of each other’s moves through a 20-year friendship. Bonus points to AEW for showing video highlights of SCU’s tag title win in the beginning of the match tonight.
Yes, Sky won via interference from Lambert and Page, but he arguably didn’t see that at all. The announcers were sure to repeat that several times.
…it would have been fine if the show ended right there. Unfortunately, we had to have a post-match swerve.
Post-Match Angle: MISS
After the match, Sky tried to show respect to Kazarian, but he told him about Page and Lambert’s interference. Sky confronted them but eventually whacked Kazarian in the face with the TNT championship. Dan Lambert concluded with “I love it when a plan comes together.”
I was really looking forward to Sky being a heel with enough autonomy to project himself as the leader of Men of the Year. However, following along with his friends’ plan in this manner means we are unlikely to see any character development at all in him.
In addition, Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti, who were at ringside to “back up” Kazarian if things took a dirty turn, tried to save him. What?! I thought they were heels now? I suppose you can argue that they only ran in after Lambert directly provoked them, so this wasn’t as confusing as the above.
I know we were promised a mixed-tag match so this heel vs. heel rivalry must continue, but we have to get it over with sooner rather than later. I want to see Sky and Sammy paired off against solid babyfaces.
Jericho is schilling too hard for babyfaces and then suddenly threatening to throw fireballs at other people like a petulant child. This undercuts his character and the seriousness of the fireball incident with Kingston. The man needs to be taken off commentary.
Overall Show: 50-50
Remove the Gunn Club segment and the post-main event angle, mute Jericho’s microphone, and bump the women’s match to the opener, and you have a strong episode of Rampage. Unfortunately, the few weak points on this show were powerful enough to counterbalance the good.