AEW RAMPAGE HITS & MISSES 5/20: Main event and Hookhausen lead the way, rest of show skippable


Full analysis on the hits and misses from this week's AEW Rampage
Hook (photo credit David Bryant ©PWTorch)



House of Black defeated Fuego Del Sol, Evil Uno, and Preston “10” Vance: MINOR HIT

The story between Fuego and House of Black is a never-ending hamster wheel with the same ending. Are there no other babyfaces for House of Black to squash? Brock Anderson? Lee Johnson? Lee Moriarty? Bear Country?

While the match itself was a fine TV opener, I’m not invested in this story at all. It’s very played out. In addition, for all the focus on Fuego leading up to this, he barely got much ring time here. Uno and Vance seemed to do most of the work in the key parts of the match.

On the House of Black side, Brody King appeared to get a bit more shine compared to previous matches. I assume this is due to his recent non-AEW performances?

After the match, Death Triangle walked out and revealed a tombstone with House of Black’s name and the Double or Nothing logo on it. Hopefully that concludes the feud.

The Acclaimed and Gunn Club Backstage Interview: MAJOR MISS

They showed Bowens’s injury on Dark Elevation then performed a terrible catchphrase. This was awful. Second-worse segment in AEW history after last week’s segment involving the same people. Tony Khan can not possibly look at this and go “yep, this is what I want on my television show.”

FTR Backstage Interview: MINOR HIT

FTR responded to Roppongi Vice’s challenge from Dynamite last week. They did a good job trying to put over their ROH tag titles, but the lack of context given to anything ROH-related on AEW television just brings this down a notch.

Shawn Spears defeated Big Damo: MINOR HIT

Big Damo actually got an entrance, which was surprising to see. He’s probably a higher-tier talent from the Irish wrestling scene. The announcers sold him as being “hand-picked” by MJF to give Spears a challenge.

Like Bear last week, Damo did get some “big man” offense against Spears in the beginning, which Spears sold quite entertainingly. However, in the end, Spears beat him decisively. Two back-to-back wins over bigger men is a solid attempt to try and build him up to take on the bigger Wardlow.

Post-Match Promo by Spears: 50-50

I like Spears’s 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.

Undisputed Elite Backstage Promo: NARROW MISS

Fine build up for the Owen Hart Cup and Bucks vs. Hardys. I could have done without the cheeky “finger poke of doom” reference, but the promo work wasn’t spectacular either way.

Kris Statlander defeated Red Velvet: MINOR HIT

Good victory for Statlander. She showcased a lot of power moves in this match, which is an interesting evolution of her style.

Unfortunately, I feel like we’ve lost too many chapters of Statlander’s character growth to shoulder programming. Same for Red Velvet. That’s a recipe for a match with very little heat.

Post-Match Brawl: MISS

After the match, the Baddies beat down Statlander and Ruby Soho (who was on commentary and scheduled to face the winner next week). Anna Jay (why?) ran out to make the save for the babyfaces. That made no sense at all. Anna Jay has no friendship with Statlander or Soho on television that we know of.

Hookhausen and Tony Nese + Mark Stirling Video Package: HIT

This was very an entertaining video package of their gym training! Go check it out.

Men of the Year In-Ring Promo: MAJOR MISS

Somehow, Sammy Guevara had stolen Sky’s TNT title belt (when did this happen?). He appeared on the titantron with Tay Conti and threatened to destroy belt with a hammer if Sky refused his mixed tag match challenge. MotY continued to refuse, so and Guevara followed through on said threat.

Frankie Kazarian then revealed himself next to the couple and partook in said dismantling of the belt while Sammy and Conti proceeded to make out in the background.

No one is likable here. Sky’s character was set back to square one last week, and Kazarian lost all self-respect tonight as well. Pathetic segment.

By the way, is there mass excitement to see the mixed tag match anyway? We haven’t seen Paige VanZant in many weeks, and there hasn’t been any story developed between her and Conti beyond their brawls while trying to interfere in their male friends’ match.

Britt Baker/Toni Storm Backstage Interview: MINOR HIT

This was better than the series of promos leading up to the Owen Hart Cup tournament. Toni Storm was good, but Baker needs to find a way to deliver promos without resorting to either high-school-level insults or walking away.

Main Event Promo: HIT

This was one of the better main event promos. Blackpool Combat Club were especially good here, as always, and Martin/Sydal delivered a better promo than their challenge on Dynamite.

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.

Jade Cargill Backstage Promo: IT HAPPENED

Cargill challenged Anna Jay to a TBS Championship match at Double or Nothing. This should have aired before the main event promo.

In any case, Anna Jay receives a championship match despite being off TV for several weeks. According to, she is among the top 5 contenders (probably via wins on shoulder programming). If the current TNT championship storyline is outright bad, the TBS championship story is an underwhelming snooze fest.

Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley defeated Matt Sydal and Dante Martin: HIT

This was a great main event. Dante Martin and Matt Sydal are good foils for anyone, and Danielson and Moxley are just pure gold together. William Regal on commentary was also fantastic, and Jericho actually sticking to character and bantering with Regal was wonderful to see.

Post-Match Brawl: MISS

The Jericho Appreciation Society came out to brawl with the BlackPool Combat Club at the end. A simple stare-down between Jericho and Regal to end the show would have sufficed.

Commentary: NARROW MISS

Jericho was a little better this week, but not by much. He is still schilling too hard for babyfaces and condemning heels without an ironic tone when his faction isn’t involved. The man needs to be taken off of full-time commentary while he is an active competitor.

Overall Show: NARROW MISS

The first 40 minutes of the show ranged from skippable to outright bad. Billy Gunn is now responsible for two of the worst backstage segments I have ever seen on AEW television. The Guevara, Conti, Kazarian, and Men of the Year story is poisonous to the show as well. In addition, the TBS championship match for Double or Nothing feels haphazardly put together. It’s a shame that both secondary titles, held by good African American wrestlers, have weak accompanying storylines.

Although not good enough to save the show, the Hookhausen video package and main event are the only things worth checking out. Special shoutout to the AAPI representation commercials as well.

CATCH-UP: AEW announces major additions to Double or Nothing PPV event

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