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AEW RAMPAGE TV REPORT
NOVEMBER 18, 2022
AT PRUDENTIAL CENTER, NEWARK, N.J.
AIRED LIVE ON TNT
REPORT BY PATRICK MOYNAHAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Excalibur, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Chris Jericho
Ring announcer: Dasha Gonzalez
– The opening of Rampage aired, and JR welcomed us to the show. Ross was joined by Excalibur, Chris Jericho, and Tony Schiavone.
(1) RICKY STARKS vs. LANCE ARCHER – AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament 2022 First Round
– Lance Archer was shown backstage attacking Ricky Starks, who fended off Archer and made a comeback until Archer threw Starks into the metal garage door. The two fought their way toward the ring. Archer and Starks fought through the crowd as the commentary team mentioned the winner of this match would face Brian Cage in the next round on tomorrow’s Full Gear pre-show. Archer flew from the crowd over the barrier and onto Starks as the two men finally made it inside the ring for the match to officially begin. Starks clotheslined Archer over the top but Archer caught him with a chokeslam onto the ring apron. [c]
Archer maintained control as he worked on Starks in the corner. Starks was perched on the top rope as Archer toyed with him until going for his finish. Starks fought off Archer to the delight of the crowd. Starks hit a diving shoulder tackle but Archer didn’t go down. Starks tried for a spinning DDT but Archer blocked and hit him with a huge clothesline for two.
Archer missed a second clothesline and Starks hit the spinning DDT on a second attempt, then covered for a close count. Starks ducked a few punches, then leapt over Archer’s shoulder tackle attempt, then hit a spear for the win.
WINNER: Ricky Starks in 5:00
– After the match, Brian Cage walked toward the ring as Archer attacked Starks from behind. Archer used the ring steps and choke slammed Starks across the steps.
(Moynahan’s Take: I liked the way they kicked off this show with an impromptu fight backstage, which fed into the live atmosphere. Strong win for Starks as he heads into the next round tomorrow night.)
– A video aired of the Full Gear World Championship match between John Moxley and MJF.
– Tony Schiavone was backstage with Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara to discuss their Full Gear ROH Title match tomorrow night. Jericho guaranteed he would retain the title tomorrow and that Sammy would help him do so. Jericho walked away and Sammy said we would see about that.
(2) HOOK vs. LEE MORIARTY – FTW World Heavyweight Championship
Excalibur hyped up Moriarty as Hook’s biggest title challenger to-date. The two tied up in the corner but Hook took Moriarty down to the mat after Moriarty got in a shot. Hook took Moriarty down again, but Moriarty countered a wrist lock as the two continued the back-and-forth. Moriarty took Hook to the outside right before the commercial break. [c]
Moriarty continued with the advantage until Hook met him with a clothesline. Hook hit a series of body shots until the ref broke things up. Hook threw Moriarty across the ring, then took him down with a back heel trip. Hook followed up with a Fisherman’s throw. Moriarty caught Hook in the corner, then came off the top with a diving knee drop across the back. Moriarty went for a cover for two, then locked in a wrist lock.
Moriarty went for another pin, then rolled it into a submission. Hook was able to wriggle free and turn it into RedRum for the tap out.
WINNER: Hook in 8:00
(Moynahan’s Take: Hook brings a unique mat work style which I think he can grow into getting over at a higher level as time goes on. This was easily one of his better matches to-date.)
– Highlights from last week of Bandido’s Eliminator Tournament win aired. Tony Schiavone was backstage with Rush, Jose, John Silver, and 10. Jose called Silver a clown and challenged the two of them. Silver accepted but 10 disagreed and walked away. Rush challenged Silver to a match next week.
(3) ATHENA vs. MADISON RAYNE
Athena attacked Rayne before the bell. Rayne caught Athena with a boot to the face, then threw her into the turnbuckle. Athena rolled to the outside and Rayne followed behind. Athena caught Rayne and threw her into the metal barrier. Back inside the ring, Rayne hit a series of clotheslines, then an elbow to the face of Athena.
Athena hit a front-forward flip into a stunner, then a running elbow to the jaw. Athena hit double knees to the face for the win.
WINNER: Athena in 3:30
– Athena attacked Rayne after the match, then took out Aubrey Edwards, which really riled up the crowd. Mercedes Martinez’s music hit as she made her way to the ring. The two faced off in the middle of the ring until Athena backed off.
(Moynahan’s Take: The commentary team, as well as Rayne in a pre-match interview, played up Athena’s recent heel antics. I have to say I wasn’t aware of this but it’s now apparent that’s where things are headed.)
– Renee was backstage with Best Friends and The Factory. Orange Cassidy challenged The Factory tomorrow. Rocky Romero appeared to even the odds a little bit, but they were still one person short. Trent told The Factory to watch this “spooky” video and then walked away. The video showed Danhausen, who will seemingly be the fifth partner of Best Friends in the match.
– A vignette aired on the House of Black
– Mark Henry was backstage with participants from tonight’s main event. Kingston was in deep thought as Ortiz spoke for him. Ortiz said Akiyama and Takeshita would have to prove they were better than they were. Takeshita said this match would be a nightmare for them. Henry announced that it was “time for the main event.”
– Excalibur ran down the Full Gear card for tomorrow night.
(4) JUN AKIYAMA & KONOSUKE TAKESHITA vs. EDDIE KINGSTON & ORTIZ
Kingston stared down Akiyama as he made his way to the ring. He didn’t let his eyes off Akiyama as the bell rang to start the match. Kingston called for Akiyama but Takeshita kicked things off for his team. Kingston hit a belly-to-belly suplex after a stiff chop, then tagged in Ortiz. Kingston took a shot on Akiyama before leaving the ring.
Akiyama tagged in and nailed Kingston right back and off the apron. Akiyama hit Ortiz with a stiff looking piledriver then tagged Takeshita back in. Takeshita and Akiyama double teamed Ortiz as Kingston looked on from the apron. Ortiz fired back on Takeshita but Takeshita hit him with one shot to take him to the mat. [c]
Kingston had the upper hand on Takeshita as he and Ortiz made quick tags to cut off the ring. Kingston hit a DDT then covered for a two count. Kingston continued staring down Akiyama on the apron. Takeshita and Kingston traded chops in the center of the ring. Takeshita fired back with elbow strikes and a flying clothesline. Akiyama tagged in, as did Ortiz. Akiyama hit the jumping knee on Ortiz but Kingston came in and traded chops with him. Ortiz was still the legal man as Kingston got caught with a clothesline. Ortiz hit a powerslam on Takeshita but Takeshita came right back with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Kingston hit a suplex on Takeshita as all four men were down on the mat.
Akiyama and Kingston traded shots once again. Kingston hit the Exploder on Akiyama, but he popped right back up. Akiyama hit a knee to Kingston’s face, then hit a knee to the back of Ortiz’s head. He followed up with an Exploder for the win.
WINNERS: Jun Akiyama & Konosuke Takeshita in 9:30
(Moynahan’s Take: For a match that was heavily hyped as a dream match, Kingston and Akiyama sure didn’t get much in-ring time together. The time they did get together was well worth it. I can only assume there’s a 1-1 match coming sooner or later.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Another strong live episode of Rampage, but not much of a true go-home show as you may expect. That said, it makes more sense to focus the bulk of go-home efforts on the much more watched Dynamite. While the crowd was into the show, I’m hoping they are a bit more fired up for tomorrow’s PPV than they were tonight. And speaking of the Full Gear show, we are now less than 24 hours away from what has shaped up to be a helluva card.
CATCH-UP: Update on AEW status of CM Punk