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AEW RAMPAGE TV REPORT
JANUARY 20, 2023
FRESNO, CALIF. AT SAVE MART CENTER (Recorded 1/18)
AIRED ON TNT
REPORT BY PATRICK MOYNAHAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Chris Jericho
Ring announcer: Dasha Gonzalez
– The opening of Rampage aired, and JR welcomed us to the show. He was joined by Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, and Chris Jericho.
(1) JUNGLE BOY vs. ETHAN PAGE (w/Matt Hardy & Stokely Hathaway & Isiah Kassidy)
Page was already in the ring as the show kicked off and Jungle Boy made his way out. Jericho said he hated when people sang along to theme songs – hehe. Page tried going right for Ego’s Edge before the bell but Jungle Boy evaded him in time. Jungle Boy took Page down with a hurricanrana, which drove Page to the outside. Page threw Kassidy in the way as Jungle Boy flew through the ropes. Hardy and Page argued at ringside as Jungle Boy flew through the ropes once again to catch Page.
As Jungle Boy got back into the ring, Page cut him off and went for a top rope move. Jungle Boy once again countered and hit a dropkick. Jungle Boy hit a kick to Page’s chest as Stokley Hathawat tried tripping him from outside. This gave Page enough time to take the advantage on Jungle Boy. He tried celebrating with Hardy on the outside who was having none of it. Page slowed things down as he worked away on Jungle Boy. Jungle Boy was clotheslined to the outside and tried fighting back with a series of forearms and chops. Page threw him head first into the metal ringpost. Page hit a gorilla press slam. [c]
Jungle Boy fired back on Page but was caught in a crossbody attempt. Jungle Boy was able to hit a big clothesline to fire up the crowd. Jungle Boy went for a powerbomb but was unsuccessful, which allowed Page to hit a back body drop. Page hit a cross-arm bomb off the top, then hit a powerslam for a close two count. Page attempted a Twist of Fate but Jungle Boy countered and rammed Page into the corner. Page nailed Stokley but it allowed Page to hit a Twist of Fate on Jungle Boy for another close count. Jungle Boy went outside and Hardy slowly walked over to him as Hook’s music hit. Hook made his way to the ring as Hardy and Page looked on. Page rolled up Jungle Boy but Jungle Boy countered into a pin for the win.
WINNER: Jungle Boy in 11:00
– After the match, Page yelled at Hardy for costing him the win. Hardy claimed he had Page’s back so Page challenged Jungle Boy and Hook to face Hardy and himself on Dynamite. Stokley said until that match, Hardy and Kassidy were officially on time out. [c]
(Moynahan’s Take: Page tried holding onto Hardy as he attempted a pinnear the end of the match, and since Hardy pushed him away, it basically led to Page’s loss. An okay match that felt slow in spots in front of a much quieter crowd than Wednesday.)
– Tony Schiavone interviewed Eddie Kingston and Ortiz in the ring. Ortiz was alone in the ring first as Tony asked him to explain what was going on between the two of them. Ortiz said he thought Kingston was his friend, and added that Kingston has completely lost it. He said Kingston was about to hit a woman with a chair last week, and said that was unacceptable. He called Kingston out to handle things like men face to face. Kingston made his way to the ring with a chair in his hand.
Tony left the ring as Ortiz questioned what was going on with Kingston. He reiterated there was no hitting women and said that’s not how they were raised. Ortiz asked Kingston what their mentor, Homicide, would say. He then called Kingston a coward, which caused Kingston to attack Ortiz with the chair then walk off.
(Moynahan’s Take: Please make it stop. They did just fine with what they were given but this is all coming off as a pre manufactured feud for no reason.)
– A vignette aired of Darby Allin discussing his recent TNT Championship run. He called out the House of Black and specifically honed in on Buddy Matthews since he was the only person in the group he hasn’t beaten. He then challenged Matthews to a TNT title match on Dynamite.
(2) BRIAN CAGE (w/Prince Nana) vs. WILLIE MACK
Mack made his Rampage debut here. Both men exchanged agile moves early on which seemed to delight the commentators. Mack hit a Samoan Drop but took too long to play to the crowd. Cage got the upper hand and hit a German suplex out of the corner. Cage focused on Mack in the corner, and hit a running pump kick to the face. Cage played to the crowd as Macj tried getting back to his feet. Both men fought on the apron, which ended with a spinebuster from Cage to Mack. [c]
Mack hit Cage with a kick to the face, then another. He followed up with a running jump kick that rocked Cage and took both men down. Mack hit a clothesline but Cage continued to fight back. Mack hit a sit down sky high for a two count. Cage hit a thrust kick then picked Mack up for the F-5, which Mack was able to kick out of. Cage went for a powerbob but Mack tried to get out of it. Cage connected with a knee strike, then a powerbomb. He finished off with a drill claw for the win.
WINNER: Brian Cage in 9:00
(Moynahan’s Take: A fun hoss match with a mix of agility thrown in. Some will question why Cage didn’t make easier work of Mack going into Wednesday’s match against Danielson but I liked this for what it was.)
– The commentary team took a break to wish the Jacksonville Jaguars luck in this week’s playoff game.
(3) JADE CARGILL & LEILA GRAY vs. THE VANITY TWINS (Jaida & Jordyn)
Gray started things off as Cargill looked on. Gray locked in a front face lock which was quickly reversed into a side headlock. Gray hit a shoulder tackle then played to the crowd. Gray hit a running dropkick into the corner, then tagged in Cargill who received a nice reaction from the crowd. Gray tagged back in and hit a facebuster. She was about to get the win but Cargill cut her off and demanded the tag. Cargill hit Jaded for the win.
WINNERS: Jade Cargill and Leila Gray in 2:30
(Moynahan’s Take: Well, the commentators admitted not exactly knowing which Vanity Twin was the active wrestler for their team, which didn’t make things easy to cover. Otherwise this was your Rampage Squash of the Week.)
– Mark Henry introduced a video package previewing tonight’s main event. Clips aired of Andretti’s win over Chris Jericho and the recent issues between him and the JAS, and more specifically, Daniel Garcia. Henry announced that it was “time for the main event.”
– New matches for this week’s Dynamite were announced, including Jungle Hook vs. Matt Hardy and Ethan Page, Darby Allin vs. Buddy Matthews for the TNT title, and a 3-way match between Toni Storm, Britt Baker, and Ruby Soho.
(4) ACTION ANDRETTI vs. DANIEL GARCIA
Garcia entered with his new pleather ring gear pants, which Jericho again called leather. Sammy Guevara joined commentary for this match. Garcia attacked Andretti before the bell. Andretti used the ropes to springboard into a back elbow, then followed up with a huge chest chop. Andretti took Garcia down with a headscissors, then hit a tornillo off the ropes for a two count. Andretti kicked Garcia to the floor, then flew through the ropes to take him out. Garcia was thrown back inside, but quickly rolled back outside. Andretti followed but Garcia nailed him with a clothesline. Garcia followed up by throwing Andretti into the steel steps. [c]
Garcia maintained the advantage as we came back from commercial break. Andretti hit a flying forearm, then hit a backbreaker and neckbreaker combo. Andretti went to the top as Garcia rolled to the outside. Andretti used the ropes to hit a moonsault to the outside onto Garcia, then rolled him back inside the ring and hit a split legged moonsault for two. Andretti hit another springboard off the ropes but Garcia caught him in a choke. Andretti turned it into a pin attempt but Garcia kicked out. The two exchanged kicks and Andretti hit another neckbreaker for a close count.
Jericho admitted Andretti deserved some credit. Andretti was whipped into the corner but landed a follow up elbow. He sprung off the ropes but Garcia caught him across the face and went for a close pin attempt. Sammy and Jericho cheered Garcia from the commentary booth. Andretti rolled Garcia up for another close count. Garcia argued with the ref which allowed Andretti to fly off the top with a tornillo. He hit a running shooting star press for the win.
WINNER: Action Andretti in 11:00
(Moynahan’s Take: Great main event that told a nice story to continue this feud and hype this week’s Dynamite.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: That main event is exactly what Rampage has been lacking. The wrestling was good, but I’m talking more about the storytelling and making a connection between Rampage and Dynamite. I really enjoyed the addition of both Jericho and Guevara on commentary to help build this feud and story. Andretti continues to look good and feels more experienced than I would imagine. An overall okay show this week that really hooked me with the last match. Until next week, stay safe everyone!