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Christian Cage, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy Promo: MINOR HIT
It’s refreshing to see an AEW heel actually be heelish and play for boos. Thank you, Christian Cage. Also refreshing to start Rampage with a promo.
I thought Jungle Boy was needlessly heavy-handed with his word choice at times. Best example is when he said that Luchasaurus “wasted” three years of his life. That diminishes the stardom Jungle Boy achieved as a tag wrestler and champion. If you want to make a similar point, center it on your personal life, perhaps.
I’m also not sure how challenging Luchasaurus to a Steel Cage match is “stacking the odds against myself.” Does Luchasaurus have some unspoken record in cage matches?
The angle with the chokeslam on the chair was compelling.
Overall, a mixed bag with some good and some confusing elements.
Death Triangle Backstage Interview: IT HAPPENED
Nothing different to similar segments we’ve seen in the recent past from this faction. Pac is trying to justify the use of the hammer and talking up the “by any means necessary” line. However, we seem to still be stuck at Battle of the Belts with these guys. I’m just waiting for some kind of development.
Brian Cage defeated Dante Martin to advance in the AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament: HIT
According to Jim Ross, Dante Martin has the second-most wins in 2022 behind only Jon Moxley. Nice factoid to justify his inclusion in this tournament, but he felt like a bigger deal in 2021.
Nonetheless, I liked this big man-small man matchup. It was no Jeff Hardy vs. Undertaker from 2002, but it didn’t need to be. Cage going over was the right choice considering he’s being rebooted with a new faction while Martin hasn’t really been re-heated on television recently.
Lee Moriarty, Stokely Hathaway and Hook Backstage Interview: MISS
I don’t think Lee Moriarty made a good accounting of himself here. This “Tiger Style” thing is still a bit of a mystery to me, and not in a good way. It feels like something an elementary school bully would say.
Nonetheless, it seems we will have ourselves a Lee Moriarty vs. Hook match for the FTW title. Hook’s popularity has declined quite a bit recently.
House of Black Video Package: HIT
A well produced package that parallels some of WWE’s best work. I don’t think they will be booked any different, but pizzaz like this helps keep viewers hooked.
Bandido defeated Rush to advance in the AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament: MINOR HIT
I barely know who Rush is, and I have no idea who Bandido is. I have very low investment in the characters, and the match itself was fine but not as enjoyable as Cage vs. Martin.
The John Silver distraction took away from the match as well, and I don’t typically mind distraction finishes as much as others. Why would Silver interfere if his friend, 10, was promised a title shot if Rush wins the tournament and becomes champion? I understand “I don’t believe the heel,” but that promise wasn’t really made in a playful, taunting tone.
Jake Hager-Claudio Castagnoli Backstage Confrontation: NARROW MISS
Jake Hager wants Claudio to “sports entertain” with him again, drawing on their old days as the Real Americans tag team. I got a little kick out of this, but Hager just bores me.
Nyla Rose defeated Kayla Sparks: IT HAPPENED
Quick squash. It seems Marina Shafir is aligned with Nyla Rose now.
Post-Match Angle: MISS
After the match Jade Cargill came out to brawl with Nyla Rose, who still managed to escape with the TBS title belt due to security “interference.”
This storyline is just spinning its wheels now. Cargill threatening to hold Rampage hostage a few weeks ago and now just picking her spots doesn’t help her star power.
Main Event Promo: MINOR HIT
The story of Lee Johnson joining the Nightmare Factory and ruining Danhausen’s Halloween was told on shoulder programming. On top of that, Lee Johnson hasn’t been featured on TV in months. He’s only had three television matches this year, all of which he lost, and neither were singles matches. How can I get invested in this guy challenging for a championship at 10.30 pm?
The only highlight of Orange Cassidy in these promos is how he finds new ways to spoof Mark Henry’s line.
Orange Cassidy defeated Lee Johnson to retain the All-Atlantic Title: MINOR HIT
Poor build aside, this was a fine main event if you enjoy Orange Cassidy’s antics. The Nightmare Factory are always entertaining as decent lower-midcard foils too. I won’t hold my breath on seeing Lee Johnson on television again anytime soon.
Commentary: MINOR HIT
Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Tony Schiavone tonight. They were fine.
Overall Show: MINOR HIT
“But Hiten, we put Eliminator Tournament matches on Rampage! Doesn’t that earn a HIT?”
I’m sorry, but putting the B-matches on the B-show, involving competitors I barely know, continues to define the show down. Yes, it was an above-average episode of Rampage. No, it’s not HIT.