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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Sep. 30, 2022): Scissor power

AEW Rampage (Sep. 30, 2022) emanated from The Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA. The show featured The Acclaimed defending tag team gold, Jade Cargill’s next challenger stepping up, and Hangman Page picking a fight with Rush.

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

Excalibur, Jim Ross, and Tony Schiavone were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

AEW World Tag Team Championship: The Acclaimed (c) vs. Private Party vs. Butcher & Blade

Max Caster’s rap referenced Adam Levine, Matt Hardy’s nuts, the breakup of Butcher’s band, and Ben Simmons.

Billy Gunn was ringside for scissor power. Matt Hardy was backstage watching on a monitor rooting for Private Party. The bout was three-way style with two legal participants. Butcher and Blade couldn’t get in the match, so they bum-rushed their way in on the action. Fast forward to the near falls. Private Party hit a neckbreaker flying senton combo on Blade, but Caster made the save. Butcher and Blade hit a gutbuster gutwrench powerbomb combo on Isiah Kassidy, but Anthony Bowens made the save.

Marq Quen was back body dropped out of the ring. Kassidy hit a springboard plancha to the outside onto Butcher and Blade. Bowens tagged in on the sly when Kassidy took flight. Caster followed with a flying crossbody onto the bodies below. With all opponents down, The Acclaimed seized the moment to focus on Blade for the Mic Drop suplex flying elbow combo for victory.

The Acclaimed defeated Private Party and Butcher & Blade.

Lexy Nair asked the Gunn sons about FTR. The ROH, AAA, IWGP champs were busy in London defending NJPW gold. The Gunns were only concerned about the AEW tag titles. Since FTR didn’t have those belts, they were out of sight and out of mind. The Gunns are going to do what FTR hasn’t done as #1 in the rankings, which is make moves for the AEW titles. The Gunns plan to leapfrog FTR straight for the AEW straps.

Jade Cargill needs competition to defend the TBS Championship. Nyla Rose stepped up.

Lee Moriarty vs. Fuego del Sol

Stokely Hathaway and W. Morrissey were ringside for their Firm partner. Moriarty didn’t have much trouble en route to victory via Border City Stretch submission. Afterward, Morrissey chokeslammed Fuego for good measure.

Lee Moriarty defeated Fuego del Sol.

The Dark Order will be in Hangman Page’s corner for his AEW world title shot against Jon Moxley on October 18. Andrade and Jose The Assistant interrupted to show footage from last week’s battle royal. Hangman ducked a dropkick, which hit 10 instead for an elimination. Andrade tried to sow seeds of discord between 10 and the Dark Order. 10 wasn’t biting, so Andrade challenged him to a mask match next week. 10 accepted with one condition. Andrade’s AEW career must be on the line as well. Stokely Hathaway and Ethan Page entered to snitch on potential contract tampering between Private Party and Matt Hardy.

Willow Nightingale vs. Jamie Hayter

Dr. Britt Baker DMD and Rebel were ringside. Competitive match. Willow hit a Death Valley Driver and climbed the turnbuckles for a moonsault. Baker trifled by grabbing Willow’s boot. That distraction was enough for Hayter to take control. Hayter picked up Willow for a wheelbarrow German suplex then transitioned for a short-arm lariat to win.

Jamie Hayter defeated Willow Nightingale.

Ryan Nemeth insulted the Philly crowd, so Hook choked him into silence. After, Ari Daivari and the Trustbusters left an envelope on stage for Hook. The implication was an offer of cash to join the group. Hook picked up the envelope and exited alone.

Swerve Strickland was a guest at a rap festival. That was a needed distraction after losing the tag titles. Swerve was furious about Billy Gunn’s interference. Commentary wondered if he will ruin National Scissor Day on Dynamite.

Hype package for Moxley versus Hangman. This is good stuff if only for the reaction of Hangman after talking up the support of the fans in his corner only to be alerted that the fight is in Moxley’s home turf of Cincinnati. Hangman deadpanned with concern, “Oh, shit.”

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. John Silver was ready to beat ass. Rush was intent on showing everyone that the Ingobernables are winners. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Battle of the Belts will be a Friday doubleheader special next week after Rampage. PAC will defend the AEW All-Atlantic Championship against Trent. Trent was upset about PAC hurting Orange Cassidy. It’s payback time.

John Silver vs. Rush

Andrade, Jose The Assistant, and Alex Reynolds were ringside. Silver stole the Ingobernables’ poses early to mock Rush. That lit a fire in El Toro Blanco to go to pound town. Rush pummeled Silver with hard strikes, then Rush displayed his signature poses to the world. Silver rallied with a pair of German suplexes and a powerbomb.

Down the stretch, Silver smashed a brainbuster. Rush kicked out, but the Ingobernables were worried. Jose hopped onto the apron, so Reynolds pulled him down. Andrade hopped onto the apron to distract Silver. That allowed Rush to pounce for a blindside running elbow. Rush followed with the Bull’s Horns dropkick for victory.

Rush defeated John Silver.

After the match, Los Ingobernables stomped Silver. Evil Uno and 10 ran out for the save. Butcher and Blade reinforced AFO’s numbers. Hangman Page entered the fray to clean house. He teased the Buckshot Lariat to Rush, but Rush rolled out. Hangman clobbered Jose instead. It was announced that Hangman will wrestle Rush next week on Dynamite.

The Acclaimed proved that scissor power is no fluke. The fan support can’t be denied, however, the strength of skill could be debated. The Acclaimed did nothing to earn both title shots against Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland, and Billy Gunn was a major factor in The Acclaimed winning gold. Max Caster and Anthony Bowens still have to validate being included in the conversation of top tag teams in the world, even though, they are reigning AEW champions. That’s why the victory on Rampage was important.

Let’s be honest. Nobody, except die-hard Blade fans, expected The Acclaimed to drop the belts in this bout. The Acclaimed took care of business, and they did it in style. Caster and Bowens kept their heads on a swivel for timely pin breaks and utilized a divide and conquer strategy for success. That shows they have savviness and situational awareness in their arsenal of attributes. A few more wins like this will cement their champion status and then knocking off an established top-tier team will elevate them to a higher realm.

As for the action in the bout, there was a constant flow of activity. The early way that Butcher and Blade barged in was an interesting wrinkle. That emphasized the trickiness of the match format. It’s one of those small details that enhances the storytelling in the ring. That’s what made Bowens sneaky tag at the end so important.

Thumbs up for Rush looking like a badass in his match. John Silver was the plucky underdog, but there was no fooling around when he went toe-to-toe with Rush in strikes. Rush laid the lumber to send a message. This was the kind of match where AEW clearly wanted to present Rush as the star, but they had to mix up the action for entertainment purposes. Hangman Page arriving for a showdown with Rush excites me. I’m so glad AEW booked that singles duel for next week. That is a bout I’ve been pining for ever since the first tease. It is going to be a true slobberknocker.

Jamie Hayter versus Willow Nightingale was a lot of fun for what it was. Make no mistake. It was a hoss fight, but Willow’s enthusiasm added an energetic element for a different vibe than aggressive hosses throwing hoss blows. This bout from Willow begs the question why she isn’t All Elite already. I’m not going to pretend I know the economics on either end, but I imagine she has value through merch sales and public appearances at the least. As for Hayter, the fan response shows that AEW muffed on her reunion with Dr. Britt Baker DMD. There were loud cheers for Hayter to show they want her to break out from Baker’s shadow.

The drama between Andrade and 10 was perfectly executed as a way to blur the lines in the social media era. AEW is smart to play on this angle. Andrade’s alleged dissatisfaction with AEW over his usage will encourage viewers to tune in to the career versus mask bout out of curiosity. And if that was all part of the con, then it only makes it more impressive on the storytelling side. Adding in the emotional element of 10 possibly losing the mask presented by Mr. Brodie Lee is icing on the cake. No matter who wins, there will be a reason to watch.

As weak as it is for FTR to keep delaying their chase for the AEW tag titles, AEW covered for them well by inserting the Gunns into the championship conversation. One big problem though. I don’t think anyone takes the Gunn sons as a legitimate threat. AEW needs to work on building them up in the ring. Cupcake wins don’t count. If the Gunns rumble with The Acclaimed in short order, the papa Billy angle won’t be enough to sell this match.

Jade Cargill versus Nyla Rose? Give me a hoss yeah. That’s the type of matchup that will force Jade to step up her game to overcome a beast. I can’t wait for that one.

Grade: B

Rampage was strong on the entertainment factor with exciting action and genuinely funny bits of comedy. The promo game had multiple layers of storytelling. The finishes for Jamie Hayter and Rush could have been firmer not needing interference to earn wins. AEW likes to brag about rare DQ results, however, it is stuff like that which makes those claims laughable. Willow Nightingale and John Silver did not need protecting in these losing situations.

Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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