AEW RAMPAGE HITS & MISSES 9/23: Golden Ticket misses, Starks and Hobbs deliver, more

BY HITEN DAVE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

AEW Rampage analysis
PHOTO CREDIT: Ricky Starks Twitter

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

Darby Allin and Sting defeated Buddy Matthews and Brodie King: MINOR HIT

Decent opening match with the usual peppering of crazy Darby spots that I’ve grown numb to. This was probably a “HIT” if you know who the Great Muta is. I didn’t sense an ultra-loud reaction for him, and I wasn’t otherwise mesmerized by the scene to the same extent that Sting’s WWE debut got me (and Sting was new to me back then).

A little annoying to hear “how do you follow this?” and “Jezebel Hart” on commentary tonight. The latter is obviously bad, and the former just blatantly tells us that it’s more important for wrestlers to put on a good show instead of just win.

Julia Hart overshooting the table was a little concerning. Hope she’s okay.

Hook and Action Bronson defeated “Daddy Magic” Matt Menard and Angelo Parker Eddie Kingston Video Promo: MINOR HIT

Short and sweet. Bronson had some nice, crowd-pleasing spots, and Hook continues to accrue dominant wins.

The only thing that confuses me is that Matt Menard was shown cutting quite a serious and bloody promo after the Blood and Guts match. A few months later, he’s selling for a non-wrestler celebrity. How am I supposed to ever take him seriously again?

Wardlow and Samoa Joe defeated Tony Nese and Josh Woods: IT HAPPENED

Another very quick match. Honestly, it wasn’t even much of a match. Wardlow seemed to be taken out by a foot injury. Not sure if that was worked or real.

Post-Match: HIT

After the match, the heels attacked Joe and Wardlow beat them down and performed a powerbomb symphony on Mark Stirling. This was building for a while and good for what it was.

Jungle Boy Video Promo: HIT

Jungle Boy struck a much better tone here, and I like the reminder of his history with Fenix. Better to do this then let people think that the match was only put together to provide a spot fest on the card.

Jungle Boy defeated Rey Fenix: HIT

Great match in front of a tired crowd. I loved the work both wrestlers put in here. It was a good mix of high-flying and hard-striking wrestling. I just wish Jungle Boy got a more decisive win than a surprise pinning combination.

Jungle Boy really is a great talent. He just needs a bit of “correct advice” when it comes to the tone he strikes in promos.

Post-Match Angle and Promo: HIT

After the match, Christian Cage came out to his entrance and Luchasaurus attacked Jungle Boy from behind. Christian then cut a good promo while Luchasaurus held down JB.

While I liked this segment, they could have easily done it next week and saved more time on this show.

Jericho Appreciation Society Backstage Interview: HIT

Good story development between Jericho and Daniel Garcia here. Just building to the next chapter.

Sammy Guevara defeated Eddie Kingston (after Eddie defeated him?): HIT WITH CONFUSING END

While introducing Sammy, Justin Roberts tend to say “they call him the Spanish God.” This week, JR chimed in and said “Whose ‘they’?” I got a kick out of that.

Sammy cut a promo to before the, reigniting the fat joke controversy from a few weeks ago (I guess they are turning it into a storyline). This led to a physical match that Eddie ended up winning decisively. The match itself was what it should have been: Eddie beating the smug out of Sammy. One thing I didn’t enjoy was Jericho saying “Sammy’s taking them like a champ” in reference to Eddie Kingston’s machine gun chops. This undercut the moment for me because it wasn’t like Sammy was egging on those chops like a tough guy. He was getting the hell beaten out of him, and that’s the tone the announcers should have struck. But Jericho can’t help going into podcast mode.

After the match, Eddie Kingston kept attacking Guevara, which led the referee to reverse his decision and award Sammy the win.

Why has AEW never done this before when the heels keep attacking babyfaces after the match? Well, according to Tony Schiavone: “Tony Khan has tasked Paul Turner to tighten up the officiating after some tactics 48 hours ago, Chris Jericho.” Why make that change without a major on-screen announcement about it beforehand? This must have been so confusing for the live audience. Meh, at least there’s some justification.

Jade Cargill defeated Diamante: IT HAPPENED

Another dominant win from Cargill, and honestly not much of a match either. Less memorable than some of her other matches. It was just kind of there.

Post-Match: MISS

After the match, someone named Trina shoved aside Diamante and joined the Baddies. I don’t know who Trina is or why this matters.

Hangman Page won the Grand Slam Golden Ticket Battle Royal to earn an AEW World Title Shot: MISS

I didn’t enjoy this match. From the contrived pre-match brawl which suddenly transitioned to the ring once commercial was over to the quality of talent here, it was just boring. The live reports indicating that much of the crowd left after this match are more understandable now. The show hasn’t really been great up to this point, and it’s easy to forget that we still have a main event to come.

Anyway, here are some thoughts from the match:

  • Hello Brian Cage. Glad to see you’re still alive.
  • Ariya Daivari was eliminated very quickly. Undoes whatever credibility he built in that “Trustbusters hour” edition of Rampage a few weeks ago.
  • Lee Moriarty was eliminated in a way that made him look really incompetent. Another person whose story was building for a while on Rampage before he just disappeared. At the very least, I would not have had Matt Hardy shove him out like that.
  • Rush and John Silver had a spot where Rush came across as more of a babyface than him.
  • I don’t expect Lance Archer to even challenge for a singles title in AEW again.
  • Hangman winning was too predictable after he was the only one to come out with an entrance. He’s also the only singles wrestler in this match with even a shred of television credibility in the last year. Almost everyone else was either Dark fodder or unknown.
  • Paul Wight didn’t add anything on commentary. In fact, his occasional meta comments (like “more turns than NASCAR”) were just eye-rolling.

Anyway, Hangman will Moxley at the Tuesday Night Dynamite episode on October 18th. Considering it will be in Moxley’s hometown, I am even less convinced Hagman will win. However, it’s good to see him still in main event mix.

Main Event Promo: HIT

Good promo work from both. I suppose a Lights Out match is more fitting for this feud than others that AEW has busted out this concept for.

Ricky Starks defeated Powerhouse Hobbs in a Lights Out Match: HIT

This was a good match. The portion of the crowd that stayed behind was quite into it. However, I think they could have done more (and safer) spots to make it come across like a truly brutal Lights Out match. Instead, we got two legitimately dangerous spots with Starks going spine-first into the tops of two steel chairs (reminding me of Kevin Owens getting powerbombed onto the edge of steel steps), and Hobbs taking an unprotected shot to the head with a light fixture. Neither really added anything to the match, to be honest. In addition, there was no blood. Not that blood necessarily makes everything better, but sanctioned singles matches in AEW tend to get plenty of it.

I also liked the pre-taped video package on Starks before the match. I think he has a lot of input these, and this was one of the better ones. I remember one he did for Brian Cage which wasn’t really tonally consistent at all, and his bragging on commentary for directing it just took me out of whatever serious mood it wanted to induce.

Commentary: NARROW MISS

Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Chris Jericho tonight, with Schiavone coming in and out. Tazz was there for the Hook match and Paul Wight was there for the battle royal.

Anyway, this wasn’t Jericho’s best night, and Ross just wasn’t energetic enough (even by recent standards).

Overall Show: MINOR HIT

While I wasn’t as excited for this year’s Rampage Grand Slam as last year’s, I still thought it would be a very good show. In the end, it ended up being just “alright.”

Watch the opener if you know who Muta is. Otherwise, just check out Jungle Boy vs. Rey Fenix and the main event.


CATCH-UP: 9/23 AEW RAMPAGE TV REPORT: Hobbs vs. Starks, Battle Royale for Golden Ticket, Sting & Darby vs. House of Black, Hook & Action Bronson vs. Menard & Parker

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