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AEW RAMPAGE HITS & MISSES
The Young Bucks defeated the Lucha Brothers: HIT
This was highly athletic and entertaining as you would expect with these two teams. It was also more than just an exhibition match for the Bucks in their hometown; the outcome had implications for the tag team title scene (especially given the Hardys and Jurassic Express were at ringside). That gave the match actual stakes.
My only gripe is how the de-masking of Mexican wrestlers has lost so much luster in AEW. How many times have we seen it, and how many times has it ever been followed up on? It’s never been portrayed as a big deal outside of the 10 seconds after it happens.
Adam Cole was on commentary and, while far better than Ricky Starks, couldn’t overcome Jericho’s obnoxiousness.
Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks defeated Unnamed Talents (w/ promo): MINOR HIT
VERY quick squash. They aired a Team Taz backstage promo for 75% of the duration of the match. Just something for them to get their mojo back on a packed show after the PPV loss.
Athena defeated Kiera Hogan: MINOR HIT
I’m really excited to see Athena in an environment that won’t pressure her to be Mandy Rose or chase after a 24/7 title. She is far more talented than that. The live crowd was into her as well!
Stokely Hathaway is also a better manager for the Baddies than Mark Stirling.
The match itself was a solid showcase for Athena. It went a lot longer than I expected, but Hogan isn’t exactly a rookie. Nice TV match. However, the long commercial breaks tend to bring these mid-Rampage matches down a notch.
House of Black Video Promo: 50-50
This was done to showcase Julia Hart’s new character. While the delivery was compelling, the content didn’t ring true at all. “A perfectly executed plan” is far from how I would describe the story leading up to her turn. The story was very haphazard.
C.M. Punk Promo
C.M. Punk came out and gave an emotional promo announcing his injury. They mentioned that he was injured at the Dynamite show. This probably throws a major wrench into plans for Forbidden Door (and MJF vs. Punk, if that was going to happen soon after).
Later in the show, it was announced that there will be a battle royal at the start of Dynamite, and the winner of which will face number 1 contender Jon Moxley to crown an interim world champion. The interim champion will square off with Punk later in a unification match. So, CM Punk did NOT surrender the AEW world championship.
The “interim” championship scenarios in AEW are confusing. What will the legacy of interim champions end up being?
The “safe” option is for Tanahashi to enter and win the battle royal, and go on to wrestle and lose to Moxley at Forbidden Door. The ambitious alternative would be for MJF to weasel his way into the battle royal, beat Moxley, and parade the interim belt around Independent shows (effectively pulling off a better version of 2011’s Summer of Punk).
Main Event Promo: MINOR HIT
Dante and Sydal are supposed to be babyfaces, but they come off a little smarmy. Scorpio Sky was good.
Scorpio Sky defeated Dante Martin to retain the TNT Championship: MINOR HIT
Really good match, but the latter half may have been overshadowed by the battle royal/interim championship announcement, which was speed-read right before the finish. Given that, it would have been better if the Punk segment just went on last and he made the battle royal announcement himself.
I also really dug Scorpio Sky’s purple ring attire. It meshes nicely with the new TNT belt!
Far too many corny fireball references from Jericho. He also just casually mentioned C.M. Punk that relinquished the world title (twice, actually). I put that on management though because they didn’t get to the correction early enough.
Overall Show: HIT
The lows of this show would have stood out more had we not had the Punk promo. However, given the 60 minutes we were shown, this was a good episode of AEW Rampage.