SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Darby Allin defeated Matt Hardy: MINOR HIT
The setup to this match was a bit contrived, but the match itself was a solid television bout. I suppose Darby needed to regain some credibility after Sting got the win at All Out and Sammy beat him last week.
Post-Match: MINOR HIT
After the match, once Darby had left, Brodie King and Julia Hart attacked Matt Hardy and called out Darby and Sting. They came out and King challenged them to a No-DQ match at next week’s Dynamite.
I think this segment was as good as it could have been. Brodie had to make a case that House of Black will roll on strong without Malakai, and he did well for the amount of time he was given. Curious to see how effective he’ll be at leading the faction.
Jericho and JR calling Hart a “jezebel” was eye-rolling.
Eddie Kingston Video Promo: HIT
Very good work from Kingston to hype up his match with Sammy Guevara next week on Dynamite.
Claudio Castagnoli-Chris Jericho Promo Battle: HIT
So, we have another match setup for the Grand Slam Dynamite. Only a few days’ build, but you can argue that Jericho planted the seed for this on commentary last week.
Anyway, Claudio and Jericho were both good here. The ROH “division” doesn’t seem to have a rankings system or any real method to obtaining title shots. However, for ROH alone, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. In addition, Jericho winning the title will certainly add a lot more intrigue to the ROH title picture (with all due respect to Claudio, who has been fine but not great).
The obvious caveat for anything ROH-related is that, of course, it dilutes the prestige of title belts in AEW.
Jade Cargill-Diamante Backstage Confrontation: NARROW MISS
None of Jade Cargill’s matches thus far have had anywhere near a compelling build. This is no different. I can’t get excited Diamante without watching shoulder programming.
Penelope Ford defeated Willow Nightingale: MINOR HIT
This was a pretty decent match that went longer than expected. Always good to see a women’s match on Rampage get a respectable amount of non-commercial time.
Andrade- Hangman Page-Dark Order Backstage Interview: MINOR HIT
I liked Hangman showing a bit of “agony in defeat” from the PPV, and I am intrigued by 10 potentially joining Andrade. If he does, you can’t argue he would get any LESS television time than right now. As long as he doesn’t miss out on Dark Order merchandise money, I’d consider it a lateral move at the very least.
Ethan Page defeated Danhausen: IT HAPPENED
Quick squash. Curious to see how the Ethan Page-All-Atlantic Title story goes.
Ricky Starks Video Promo: MINOR HIT
Mostly good, but why did Starks have to mention that Hobbs has his “undivided attention” now? Was he just “kinda” paying attention to him for all those weeks? Or is he just referring to how the Factory is no longer in his way? If it’s the latter, there’s a way to state that more explicitly without sounding like excuse-making.
Main Event Promo: MINOR HIT
Solid work, especially from Samoa Joe. However, I haven’t really seen much from Josh Woods to make me buy him as a challenger. He lost the only match I’ve seen him in.
Samoa Joe defeated Josh Woods to retain the ROH Television Championship: MINOR HIT
If Josh Woods is someone who can no-sell a series of punches, what’s he been doing on Dark? This is the problem with AEW’s haphazard pushes of talent. They heat someone up to a boil for about a week when needed, then instantly phase them away. There is very little continuity of star development, especially on Rampage.
Anyway, solid main event which you probably enjoyed more if you are familiar with Woods’s work in ROH.
Post-Match: MINOR HIT
After the match, Tony Nese and Josh Woods attacked Samoa Joe. Wardlow came out for the save. The babyfaces then stared each other down.
I’m not enthused by the Wardlow-Joe vs. Nese-Woods tag match next week, but an eventual Wardlow vs. Joe singles match should be exciting.
Commentary: MINOR HIT
Ross, Excalibur, and Chris Jericho tonight, and Ian Riccaboni in for the ROH match. For the second week in a row, Jim Ross was saved just for Rampage. As non-energetic as he’s been in recent years, I don’t think this will help his enthusiasm.
Overall Show: MINOR HIT
A “tidy” episode. Nothing really stood out though. If you’re short on time, maybe check out the Jericho-Claudio promo?
We have a lot of hot shot builds for next week’s two-hour special. I’m certainly not looking forward to this year’s Rampage Grand Slam as much as I was last year, but I’m sure it’ll still be a solid show.