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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Jan. 21, 2022): Moxley brings the pain

AEW Rampage (Jan. 21, 2022) emanated from the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C. The show featured Jon Moxley’s return to the ring with succulent seeds for his next feud, the latest chapter of Best Friends versus the BTE vlog crew , Hook, and Jade Cargill defending the TBS Championship.

Let’s jump right in with a recap of the show followed by reactions.

Excalibur, Taz, Ricky Starks, and Chris Jericho were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Jon Moxley vs. Ethan Page

Moxley was ornery, but Page was actually the larger man due to Mox’s leaner look. Page muscled Moxley around the ring, however, never count out Moxley’s desire to inflict pain. Mox rammed Page into the barricade. Page took advantage to target the shoulder when he caused Mox to collide with the ring post.

After escaping an Ego’s Edge, Moxley’s intensity blew sky high for three German suplexes. He fired up for fisticuffs and aimed to close with the Paradigm Shift. Page escaped to rally with a brainbuster. Moxley low-bridged the ropes for Page to tumble outside. Mox followed with a suicide dive.

Back in the ring, Moxley’s knee was bothering him. He was slow climbing the turnbuckles, and that allowed Page recovery time to execute a super powerslam.

Page was dazed himself and failed for a timely cover. As he crawled over for the pin, Moxley countered for a crucifix pin. Page rolled upright, so Moxley unleashed a barrage of vicious elbows to the jaw. Mox switched positions to hammer away with knees to the head. That set up a bulldog choke. Page passed out, and Moxley earned the win in his return to the ring.

Jon Moxley defeated Ethan Page.

After the match, Page popped up with confusion about blacking out. He encroached on Moxley’s space. Mox responded with double middle fingers and a Paradigm Shift. Moxley exited through the crowd. Bryan Danielson was waiting in the back with a smirk and sarcastic applause.

Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus had words for Billy Gunn and the Ass Boys. Billy has been an crusty old man since the day JB met him. They crossed the line attacking Christian Cage. When Christian returns, Jurassic Express are going to stomp heads.

Nick Jackson vs. Trent

Rocky Romero tested positive for COVID, so the previously announced tag match was turned into a singles bout. Matt Jackson and Brandon Cutler joined Nick ringside. Trent was supported by the Best Friends with Orange Cassidy as ringside caretaker. Of note, Wheeler Yuta offered a fist pound, but Trent patted him on the shoulder instead. Commentary noticed it, so perhaps Yuta’s patience will eventually wear thin with this shabby treatment from Trent.

Nick worked with speed and flips, while Trent answered with power and suplexes. Nick focused on weakening Trent’s recently repaired neck. Trent rallied with momentum after getting his knees up on a flying senton from Nick. Trent hit a German suplex, running knee, spear on the floor, backdrop driver, and tornado DDT. As Trent ran the ropes, Nick pulled referee Rick Knox in front to block the path. Nick had control to pull off a slingshot destroyer.

The contest continued with back and forth action. Trent hit a piledriver, but Nick got his shoulder up on the cover. The fight spilled to the outside. Nick countered a piledriver for a back body drop onto the entrance ramp. He followed with a flying senton on stage. In the ring, Nick landed a 450 splash. Trent still had enough energy to kick out. Nick blasted a superkick. On a second attempt, Trent ducked to counter with the Strong Zero piledriver for victory.

Trent defeated Nick Jackson.

Mercedes Martinez stated in a promo package that nobody needs to know why she is in AEW. All they need to know is that her first priority is to take out Thunder Rosa. How did it feel to have championship dreams slip away? Thunder Rosa is ready to take the fight to the OG Badass.

Hook vs. Serpentico

Hook ambushed Serpentico during his confetti introduction. Hook steamrolled his opponent with tosses, trips, takedowns, and suplexes. The cold-hearted handsome devil locked in a standing Redrum Tazmission choke for victory.

Hook defeated Serpentico.

Hook refused to release after the bell. QT Marshall came out on stage with a mic in hand to point out Hook’s delinquent behavior. QT was ready with expectations for a sucker punch. Instead, Hook slammed him on the stage.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Jade Cargill entered with confidence in her undefeated 24-0 record in AEW. Anna Jay warned that the street fight unleashed her dark side. She will make TBS stand for That Bitch Slayer. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (c) vs. Anna Jay

Anna started with fire, but Jade was too powerful. The champ controlled the pace with slams and clotheslines. Mark Sterling and John Silver were arguing on the floor. Jade shoved her manager out of the way to flex in Silver’s face. Anna used that distraction to clobber Jade.

Anna mounted the corner to throw blows, but Jade shed off the attack for a spinebuster. Anna landed a heel kick and a Queen Slayer choke over the ropes. Jade dropped down to escape. Anna kept up the kicks and hit a flatliner. Sterling hopped onto the apron to get in Anna’s head. Silver took care of the lawyer with a brainbuster on the floor.

Jade tried to pounce with physicality, but Anna countered for a backslide. Jade escaped then erupted for a devastating pump kick. Anna showed her fighting spirit to counter for a Queen Slayer choke. Jade backed into the corner with force. Anna used the turnbuckles as leverage to lock in the Queen Slayer again. Jade used her strength to peel Anna’s fingers to break the grip.

Anna charged for a kick, but Jade caught her for a one-arm powerbomb. The champ finished with the chickenwing Jaded slam to retain the title.

Jade Cargill defeated Anna Jay.

Yes! Yes! Yes! A feud between Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson is going to be fire. I have no clue who would win, and that’s part of what will make the match so interesting. It is hard to believe Moxley would lose his first big fight in his comeback. It is equally hard to believe that Danielson would lose two main event feuds in a row. With Danielson’s renewed aggression since debuting in AEW, the intensity is going to be off the charts. I want it now! Please.

Moxley looked good in his return. Commentary leaned into the story of Moxley adjusting to a leaner frame after losing weight during his absence. Even though Mox is on the skinnier side at the moment, he still looks like a mean cuss. He definitely still fights like one too. The way Moxley finished Ethan Page was brutal. He hit that higher gear of violence to punish the man. Page added a nice touch post-match by lacking a general sense of mental clarity after being choked out. It made the fight feel more real, like when MMA fighters get knocked out and have no clue what just happened or try to take down the referee out of instinct.

In terms of star power, Jade Cargill is the real deal. She is making the TBS Championship feel important. Her squash matches were getting tedious, but she’s picked up the excitement with longer contests. Jade’s personality is starting to shine through as well. Cocky taunts like muscle flexing, push-ups, and basketball dribbling add sizzle to the steak.

Trent and Nick Jackson partook in a chess match of power and athleticism while providing good drama on the near pinfalls. There were a few times when the match felt like it could end and feel right. Trent picked up a big win. Nick has no immediate singles career ahead of him, so it was the smart choice for Trent to prevail. It helped establish his value after returning from injury. It also made the Best Friends stronger in this feud with the Super Elite Kliq Paragon. AEW could even use it as a story tool by booking Trent against Bobby Fish or Kyle O’Reilly in a way to show up the Young Bucks.

Hook did Hook stuff. He’s still in the building stage, so there’s not much new to take away from his performance. To Hook’s credit, he has maintained his popularity with fans. He arrives, kicks ass, leaves, and the crowd pops the entire time every time.

Grade: B-

Entertaining action across the board. The matchups were a little cold coming in, so there was no lust of anticipation. Rampage was a decent show to fill time on a Friday night.

Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

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