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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Oct. 21, 2022): All-Orange Championship

AEW Rampage (Oct. 21, 2022) emanated from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL. The live show featured an All-Atlantic Championship defense from Orange Cassidy, a World Tag Team Championship defense from the Acclaimed, an FTW Championship defense from Hook, and much more.

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

Excalibur, Jim Ross, and Tony Schiavone were on commentary. Dasha Gonzalez handled ring announcer duties.

AEW World Tag Team Championship: The Acclaimed (c) vs. Varsity Athletes

The stipulation was titles versus scissoring trademark. Max Caster’s rap had references to beating NXT in the ratings, Kanye West, and stomping Mark Sterling’s nuts. Sterling responded by giving the people what they want. Sterling tried to scissor with Tony Nese and Josh Woods, but the Acclaimed attacked.

Billy Gunn was ringside cheering on his boys. The Varsity Athletes hatched a plot to have Daddy Ass ejected. Sterling distracted the ref, and Woods faked physical interference from Gunn. Referee Stephon Smith fell for the trick and sent Papa Gunn packing.

The Varsity Athletes isolated Caster. After landing a flying crossbody, Caster reached Anthony Bowens for the hot tag to clean house. The Varsity Athletes regained control and connected on their teamwork Olympic slam neckbreaker finisher on Bowens. Caster made the save to break up the pinfall. The match broke down into fisticuffs. Bowens turned the tide toward victory, and the Acclaimed won via Mic Drop combo finish on Nese.

The Acclaimed defeated Varsity Athletes.

Afterward, Sterling welched on the stipulation and kept the scissoring trademark. Billy manhandled Sterling into the ring for the Acclaimed to stomp his nuts. Bowens added a flying leg drop on the crotch. A scissor party celebration closed the scene.

Jade Cargill struck a deal with AEW. Since Penelope Ford was injured, Cargill allowed Leila Grey as a replacement for the show to go on. In exchange, Cargill demanded the return of the TBS Championship from Nyla Rose.

Ortiz called in the Lucha Bros for an intervention to Eddie Kingston. He’s been out of control lately. They don’t want Eddie’s temper to cost him his job. PAC spoke up about Kingston’s lack of composure losing his big match at Grand Slam in his home turf. PAC shook his head in disgust. Kingston was annoyed at PAC’s presence, but he didn’t blow his lid to act in violence. Death Triangle and Kingston exited in separate directions.

FTW Championship: Hook (c) vs. Ari Daivari

Daivari offered Hook $50,000 cash to buy the FTW title. El Diablo Guapo slapped the money out of Daivari’s hand, and the fight was on. VSK was ringside as Daivari’s butler. VSK trifled a bit in the match causing distractions. That allowed Daivari to rough up Hook for a flatliner. Hook kicked out then smashed VSK. Hook ducked a clothesline from Daivari on the apron. The champ hooked in Redrum and pulled Daivari into the ring over the ropes. Daivari tapped out, but Hook choked him unconscious anyway. Hook also choked out VSK.

Hook defeated Daivari.

The Firm sent Private Party to wrestling academy to work on fundamentals. Stokely Hathaway assigned Matt Hardy to wrestle on Elevation. Hardy spit some rap lines, and Hathaway walked out in disbelief.

Leila Grey vs. Willow Nightingale

Kiera Hogan was ringside. She added a thrust kick on the floor to assist her fellow Baddie. Willow rallied for a spinebuster. Grey answered with a side Russian leg sweep. Willow fired back for a back drop suplex. Hogan hopped onto the apron as a distraction, and Grey scored a roll-up. Willow kicked out then shoved Grey into Hogan. That cleared the way for a gutwrench powerbomb for Willow to win.

Willow Nightingale defeated Leila Grey.

After the match, Tony Schiavone revealed that Willow is All Elite.

Jade came to the ring with a chair. Willow gave the champ her space. Jade took a seat and demanded the return of her TBS Championship. Nyla Rose popped up on the big screen to steal Jade’s car and drive away with the belt. Jade was furious and threatened to stay in the ring to ruin Rampage. When security came out, Jade kicked their ass. Jade left in a huff.

Footage aired of how the All-Atlantic Championship main event was booked. Cassidy popped in on 10 and Rush to propose a three-way. Production cut out the comical part with Tony Khan making the match official.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Orange Cassidy joined Henry to mimic his lines. OC didn’t know why he got mixed up in the business between 10 and Rush. He felt like it? 10 was joined by -1. The masked man was ready to beat Rush’s ass and walk out with the All-Atlantic title. Rush had Jose The Assistant by his side. El Toro Blanco wanted to break their faces. Cassidy started to wrap up with Henry’s signature line, but Henry cut him off. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

AEW All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Rush vs. 10

Cassidy brought the title inside a backpack. Jose The Assistant and Danhausen were ringside. As soon as the bell rang, Rush and 10 threw blows at each other. Cassidy stood there watching. Hands in pockets for the shin kick routine to both competitors, and Rush sucker punched 10. The action spilled outside, where Rush uglied up the contest with Ingobernables tactics to whip and choke 10 and Cassidy with the camera cable.

As the match progressed, Cassidy went for a suicide dive. Rush and 10 caught OC for a double chokeslam onto a table. Back in the ring, Cassidy rallied for a stunner to 10 and a tornado DDT to Rush. OC ducked a discus lariat from 10 to counter for Beach Break. 1, 2, Jose pulled Cassidy off the cover. Danhausen entered for a low blow curse at Jose’s groin.

Rush shoved Danhausen into Cassidy. El Toro Blanco followed with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex on OC into the corner. 10 came alive for a spinebuster to Rush and a wheelbarrow German suplex to Cassidy. Discus lariat to OC! 1, 2, Rush broke up the pin.

Rush loosened 10’s mask to turn sideways and obscure his vision. Rush turned around into a Superman punch from Cassidy. Rush tumbled out of the ring. 10 went for a discus lariat, and Cassidy countered for a Beach Break. 10 blocked the move, but Cassidy was able to score a roll-up. OC put his hands in his pockets to secure the three-count.

Orange Cassidy defeated Rush and 10.

The All-Orange Championship era has begun in AEW. Orange Cassidy outmaneuvered Rush and 10 to retain the AEW All-Atlantic Championship. The action had a smooth flow to feel like a real three-way. That helped maintain mystery for the finish. I expected Cassidy to retain, but the path to get there was executed well. Cassidy brought the chuckles all night long, especially when copying Mark Henry. In the ring, Cassidy took his fair share of lumps to set up the ‘little man’ win over his more muscular adversaries. 10 was strong in defeat. He didn’t look out of place sharing the ring with Cassidy and Rush, who are bigger stars.

The match between the Acclaimed and Varsity Athletes serviced the story. In the process, the Acclaimed are picking up wins to prove they are no fluke as champions. The action was adequate but never reached a higher gear. The silliness with Mark Sterling had a satisfying payoff. Best of all, let the scissor party resume.

Willow Nightingale and Leila Grey had a decent match. It was competitive to determine the lower card pecking order. I’d much rather see this level of bout on Rampage than an easy squash match. It gives us a chance to observe and pick up on little things of personal preference to create a rooting interest in the future. Three cheers for Willow becoming All Elite. She has a tremendous amount of potential. Willow’s energy is infectious. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is a top fan favorite as a face of the division in the future.

The most interesting segment of the evening was the intervention for Eddie Kingston. That storyline has potential for several layers. Does he lose his friends? Does he go full violent lunatic? I’m curious to see what will be Kingston’s tipping point one way or the other. That brings me to an issue with Hook’s finish. The Redrum lift over the ropes was badass. However, it doesn’t feel right that Kingston was punished, and rightfully so, while Hook choked out his opponent after the bell without consequence. Add in Jade Cargill beating up security. If the idea is for Kingston to evolve beyond goon status, then AEW may need to tone down these other instances so fans don’t view Kingston as the victim of uneven penalty enforcement.

Grade: B-

Solid show. Nothing spectacular but nothing weak. It was in that sweet spot of enjoyable entertainment for the late Friday time slot.

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

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