SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The Acclaimed defeated Butcher and Blade and Private Party in a Triple Threat Tag Match to retain the AEW Tag Titles: HIT
A nice, exciting first-title defense by the Acclaimed. Triple Threat tag rules are always a bit weird, but what bothers me more is the fact that this wasn’t the main event on a card like tonight’s. Doesn’t bode well for the rest of the show.
We’ve now gone several weeks where challengers for title matches have been randomly assigned. The rankings on AEW’s website haven’t even been updated since August 31st.
Lastly, Jim Ross seems to be a little too infatuated with the Acclaimed.
The Firm (Gunns) Backstage Interview: IT HAPPENED
The Gunns mocked all the titles held by FTR and set their sights on the Acclaimed. I do share these sentiments to some extent. When a promotion you watch loyally is flooded with belts from promotions you don’t watch, it does create a frustration to the point where you want to mock that. However, this just made the Gunns come across low rent.
The only noteworthy element of this is the news that FTR at in London defending one of the titles…for those of you that were wondering why they weren’t on Dynamite last week.
Jade Cargill and Nyla Rose Backstage Segment: IT HAPPENED
Nyla has a new look and a new friend, apparently. Other than that, there was nothing spectacular about this segment. Nyla is always a stepping stone for champions. I’ve given up on expecting her to be in any kind of compelling storyline.
Lee Moriarty (w/ Stokely Hathaway and W. Morrissey) defeated Fuego Del Sol: IT HAPPENED
As someone who has covered Rampage since day 1, I always get a kick out of seeing Fuego. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to get me to enjoy this. Much love to Fuego’s selling ability, but I’m justifiably cynical when I see Moriarty now.
The only way this squash match was productive is if Moriarty is given a few-month run on television as a solid mid-card heel. He was taken off TV for several weeks after the company built up his heel turn on Rampage. Let the man accumulate some wins on consecutive weeks of television before he moves into a story to challenge for the ROH Pure title. I’m happy to let the entire thing play out on Rampage alone if Dynamite is too busy. However, if Moriarty just disappears again, this was a complete waste of time.
By the way, remember how Ethan Page complained about his lack of TV time then got recruited by Hathaway? He then disappeared from TV for weeks, came back to help MJF at All Out, and then set a course for the All-Atlantic title. Well, his first victory since joining Hathaway’s group was against Danhausen two weeks ago. I thought that was the beginning of string of wins on Rampage leading up to a title match. How naïve of me. He’s off TV AGAIN and hasn’t even had a match on Dark that Danhausen match.
This is what I suspect will happen to Moriarty as well. Random televised matches here and there leading to an ROH Pure title match with an undercooked story. Please prove me wrong.
Hangman Page + Dark Order + Andrade + Ethan Page Backstage Segment: MISS
This was a very disjointed, mess of a segment. It led in with Hangman being interviewed regarding his title show against Moxley, but he didn’t talk much before Andrade interrupted and challenged 10 to a match on “Brodie Lee’s Last Match Anniversary.” Apparently, if Andrade wins, 10 gives up his mask. 10 also mentioned that if he wins, Andrade leaves AEW.
Okay, so I understand they are playing into the rumors of Andrade possibly leaving the company, but I’d expect a heel throw in such unfair terms onto a match. I don’t expect 10 to lose, given the occasion, but the company could have at least done a better job building him up to be able to credibly send Andrade out of the company.
After that, Ethan Page came in to comment on…Andrade’s leadership skills? What? Why does he even care? Shouldn’t be focussing on getting the All-Atlantic title?
A very confusing segment all round.
Jamie Hayter defeated Willow Nightingale: HIT
Good match. I liked this more than the opener, actually. Nightingale has a very awesome and unique kind of charisma, and Hayter is pretty over with the crowd.
AEW really missed the ball by not having Hayter turn on Baker while the fans are hot for it. What’s worse is she reunited with her like she wasn’t even upset in the first place. At the very least, take away some of the happiness of the friendship. Let her show a heightened sense of caution and exercise some agency within Baker’s faction.
Go back and watch some tape of Batista in Evolution, or even Wardlow and MJF, and study the non-verbals. You don’t have to copy those, but this isn’t a difficult story to tell. There’s still time to rectify this though.
War-Joe Video Package: NARROW MISS
This had potential, but Samoa Joe’s over-modulation kind of ruined it for me. I find him much more effective when he’s calmly menacing.
Ryan Nemeth-Hook-Trustbusters Segment: MISS
It’s telling that AEW decided to play Hook’s music throughout his beatdown of Ryan Nemeth. I didn’t get the sense they did it because it added to the ambience. The crowd was pretty subdued, and
I’m intrigued by the idea of Hook joining the Trustbusters. His act has cooled off considerably in recent months. I think fans were expecting him to be having more competitive singles matches (and perhaps even a title) by this point.
To anyone complaining about him joining a faction again, you realize he first got over as a background player within a faction, right? I see it as a lateral move at best. A faction will allow him to continue to accentuate strengths and mask weaknesses as he continues to train for longer matches.
Video Package on Swerve Strickland at Rolling Loud: MISS
Tony Schiavone narrated a video package of Strickland going to Rolling Loud – a rap music festival. I typically enjoy seeing wrestlers showing off cool hobbies outside of the wrestling ring, but this didn’t sit well with me. Swerve appeared a little too happy to be at that concert after losing the tag titles, and when you have Schiavone saying that “he’s furious about Billy Gunn’s actions at Grand Slam,” the narration is very dissonant with the video content.
If Swerve really was going there for a “distraction,” I would have preferred if he narrated the video himself and took us on his emotional rollercoaster journey. Show us some agony of defeat first, then explain how you’re distracting and refreshing yourself from it so you can come back focussed. That would have been much more compelling than what we saw here.
Jon Moxley – Hangman Page Video Package: 50-50
Mostly good stuff here. Some may find the ending funny where Hangman talks up his desire for the people’s support then someone behind the camera reminds him that the match will be in Moxley’s hometown.
I think the end was a little counterproductive. Save that for a sitcom and keep it out of World title match promos. It made Hangman look a little naïve and unserious, and possibly gears up an excuse for when he does lose the match.
Main Event Promo: NARROW MISS
This was on the higher end of a John Silver main event promo. However, I’m sorry, but this just isn’t worth a television main event. I still don’t know who Rush is, and while I like Silver, I don’t like him enough to stay entertained by his matches at 10.45 pm on a Friday night. He’s someone I would want to do my wedding toast or be there for me when I’m having a rough time, but not someone I want to see wrestling singles main events.
Trent Beretta video promo on PAC: IT HAPPENED
Another promo sandwiched between a main event promo and the match. Meh. I suppose it keeps the Death Triangle – Best Friends story going.
Rush defeated John Silver: MINOR HIT
Well, the right guy went over. The Dark Order is to Hangman what Butcher and Blade are to Andrade, so Silver losing isn’t a big deal. The match was fine but nothing that will keep me awake at this hour if I didn’t have to write a column on the show.
Post-Match: NARROW MISS
After the match, Andrade, Butcher and Blade, and Dark Order ran in to brawl. This culminated in Hangman Page coming out to tip the odds in Dark Order’s favor. Not my favorite brawl. It looked contrived at points.
Honestly, though, I could not care less about this Dark Order-Andrade Family Office story. 10 doesn’t look like he has a chance against Andrade, if not for “Brodie Lee’s Last Match Anniversary.” The story will probably be worth it if 10 turns heel and aligns with Andrade, or at least if it leads to a singles babyface push. However, if 10 just beats Andrade and sinks back to Dark and BTE, this will have been a waste of time. I’d much rather have Hangman beat Andrade in that case.
Commentary: MINOR HIT
Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone tonight. The old Dynamite trio back together again. I barely even notice Schiavone anymore, to be honest, Jim Ross is a little too heavy-handed with his praise for certain talents, to the point of contrivance. It feels like he’s trying to address social media rumors instead of reacting organically. However, the commentary was fine.
By the way, next Wednesday is National Scissoring Day. Excalibur and Schiavone both said it with a straight face.
Overall Show: MINOR HIT
Above-average show for Rampage’s recent standards. Go out of your way to watch Hayter vs. Nightingale, as that match really made Hayter look good. However, the backstage interviews and video packages were a bit of a mess tonight.
To quote PWTorch Assistant Editor Zack Heydorn, good matches can’t compensate for underdeveloped characters and undercooked storylines.