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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Oct. 28, 2022): Powerhouse ransacks Wardlow’s world

AEW Rampage (Oct. 28, 2022) emanated from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The live show featured Wardlow powerbombing Matt Taven in a TNT title defense, Will Hobbs and Brian Cage making power plays for gold, Jade Cargill in the gym talking trash, Billy Gunn getting kidnapped, 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.

Jon Moxley vs. Daddy Magic

World title eliminator, which means Daddy Magic earns a title shot with a win. Nipple check? Daddy Magic’s nipples were hard. Cool Hand was ringside to provide distractions and physical interference. Daddy Magic’s biggest moment of success was a powerbomb and transition to the Boston crab. Moxley reached the ropes for the break. Daddy Magic lost focus, and Moxley sprang up for a cutter. Moxley continued his momentum for a superplex. Mox stomped Daddy Magic’s head in. Cool Hand ran in the ring and ate a cutter for supper. Daddy Magic pounced to ram Moxley into the ring post. After a DDT, Daddy Magic tried to stomp Moxley’s head in. Daddy Magic’s movement was awkward, which allowed Moxley to counter for a rear naked choke on the mat. Daddy Magic tapped out in defeat.

Jon Moxley defeated Daddy Magic.

Afterward, Stokely Hathaway and Lee Moriarty interrupted Moxley’s post-match strut of satisfaction. Moriarty challenged Moxley for a match on Dynamite. A hype package played to explain Taiga Style. Moxley accepted with a threat that Moriarty just made the biggest mistake of his life.

Mike Tyson returns to AEW next week for commentary on Rampage.

AEW announced the World Title Eliminator Tournament. It will be an eight-man field with the final at Full Gear. The winner will receive a world title shot at the Winter is Coming special on December 14. Dante Martin is the first official entrant.

Jade Cargill was in the gym doing pull-ups with an attitude for Nyla Rose. The Native Beast thinks she can steal the TBS Championship? Nah. Jade is going to whoop that ass to make a point.

Keith Lee vs. Serpentico

Powerbomb squash in under thirty seconds.

Keith Lee defeated Serpentico.

Tony Schiavone interviewed Lee after the match. Swerve in Our Glory will have their tag title shot at Full Gear against the Acclaimed. Anthony Bowens and Max Caster interrupted with haste. Billy Gunn wasn’t answering his phone. They suspected Swerve Strickland was up to no good. Swerve popped up on screen to reveal he kidnapped Daddy Ass. Swerve blamed Papa Gunn for losing the titles. He wanted to make sure Billy won’t make it to the PPV, so he used pliers to maim Daddy Ass’ scissoring fingers. The Acclaimed sprinted to the back. Lee displayed an expression of shock about his partner’s actions. Horrifying scene! Definitely watch this one.

The Jericho Appreciation Society had a fit after their losses on Dynamite to the Blackpool Cheaters Club. Chris Jericho challenged any former ROH champion to come after the Ocho. Tay Melo called out Madison Rayne for unfinished business between sports entertainers and professional wrestlers.

Tay Melo vs. Madison Rayne

Sammy Guevara was ringside. Tay took control with a backbreaker on the turnbuckles. Rayne rallied with a counter DDT and a super cutter off the turnbuckles. The ladies duked it out back and forth. Tay landed aggressive blows backing Rayne into the corner. Tay exploded for a jumping knee strike. That stunned Rayne enough for Tay to execute the Tay KO knee finisher for victory.

Tay Melo defeated Madison Rayne.

Ethan Page explained why the Firm turned their backs on MJF. The plans changed, but the group didn’t decide that. MJF did all by himself. Page mocked MJF’s idea of doing things the right way. MJF became #1 contender, because the Firm handed him the win in the Casino ladder match. Since MJF changed the plans, the Firm did too. They will send MJF to Full Gear at less than 100%. Page also announced his intentions to win the World Title Eliminator Tournament.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Matt Taven gave a history lesson. He won the ROH TV title on his first night under ROH contract. That trend will come to AEW when he wins the TNT Championship. Wardlow planned on throwing in a few extra powerbombs to welcome the Kingdom to Wardlow’s world. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

TNT Championship: Wardlow (c) vs. Matt Taven

Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis were ringside to assist their Kingdom mate. Wardlow powered through Taven early. Bennett took a cheapshot on the outside. Wardlow no-sold the contact. Maria blocked the path to protect her husband. Taven took advantage to land a flying attack over the ropes.

In the ring, Taven went to work focusing on the left knee. Wardlow rallied with slams and suplexes. The champ set up a powerbomb, but Maria hopped onto the apron as a distraction. Taven countered for a jackknife pin. Wardlow bridged out to smash Taven on a powerbomb. The symphony continued for a second, third, and fourth powerbomb. Wardlow pinned Taven easily with a foot on the chest.

Wardlow defeated Matt Taven.

Immediately after the match, Bennett attacked for a chop block. Samoa Joe ran out to even the odds. P-P-P-Powerhouse. Will Hobbs arrived on stage looking to do some damage. Boom! The Embassy attacked WarJoe from behind. Brian Cage, Kaun, Toa Liona, and Hobbs pummeled the champs. The show closed with Cage holding the ROH TV title and Hobbs holding the TNT belt.

Grade: B-

The matches were adequate. The promos and angles were where the show shined.

In my opinion, there was nothing special in the ring this week for Rampage. There were no standout moments that motivated me to write. Jon Moxley took care of business against an overmatched opponent in Daddy Magic. The result was never in doubt. Keith Lee squashing Serpentico would have been a waste of time if not for the great post-match angle. Tay Melo showed good aggression against Madison Rayne. I like the clean finish to build up Tay’s status in the pecking order.

The main event was a basic story. Matt Taven worked the leg, but Wardlow persevered to retain the TNT Championship. Taven never reached a point to make me think he could pull off the upset title change. There were a few touches of strategy I particularly enjoyed. Taven hit a frog splash onto Wardlow’s legs to put his gameplan into motion. When Wardlow did the windup lariat, Taven popped him with an enziguri. I appreciate that one, because Wardlow didn’t land a stunning blow prior to leave his opponent ripe for the picking. The windup lariat shouldn’t work if Wardlow cuts corners. The opponent must be dazed and wobbly as if waiting to receive a Mortal Kombat fatality. Wardlow finished strong to back up his trashtalk of adding extra powerbombs.

On the flip side to the ring work, there were plenty of exciting moments in the promos and angles that fired me up with enthusiasm. I popped hard at Will Hobbs getting a feature appearance to beat down Wardlow and Samoa Joe. The Embassy attack was a surprise as well for great chaos. Pairing Hobbs versus Wardlow and Cage versus Joe has me salivating. That is hoss fight heaven. As much as I enjoy Wardlow and Joe kicking ass, I’m kind of hoping both lose the belts. The TNT strap would be a great boost for Hobbs, and Cage could carry the ROH TV title strongly. On top of that, I really want to see WarJoe wreck fools as an official tag team in AEW striving to reach the top.

The horror scene from Swerve Strickland was delightful. It brought a treat of Halloween flavor. Using pliers to snap Billy Gunn’s fingers was demented. Swerve’s devious smile sold it. Keith Lee’s reaction was perfect as well.

Jade Cargill’s promo scene was very cool. The anger and mood lighting created a slick vibe. This era of modern wrestling needs more training scenes on television to remind us why these athletes are the best of the best.

Ethan Page provided sound logic for the Firm’s turn on MJF. When MJF acts in this story, I don’t believe him at face value. Something feels fishy. When Page explains it, I believe his motives are true. Having Page carry some of the load on the mic for the MJF/Moxley story might help solidify however AEW plans to pay it off, whether it be swerve, no swerve, or double secret swerve. Also, Stokely Hathaway’s smug grin elicits desire to see it slapped off his face.

AEW dropped an appealing news nugget with the World Title Eliminator Tournament. That should produce compelling TV content, and the final is a nice addition to the PPV card.

Last but not least, Mike Tyson is returning to AEW. Give me a hell yeah! Putting Iron Mike on commentary should be maximum entertainment. even if it is so bad that it is good with unintentional comedy. I have faith that Tyson’s giddiness will come across well on analysis of the action.

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

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