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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Nov. 11, 2022): Tournament matches steal show

AEW Rampage (Nov. 11, 2022) emanated from Agganis Arena in Boston, MA. The show featured Brian Cage, Dante Martin, Rush, and Bandido rocking the ring in the world title eliminator tournament, Orange Cassidy defending the All-Atlantic Championship with hijinx, 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. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

The opening segment saw Jungle Boy confront Christian Cage and Luchasaurus face to face for a challenge. They’ve been stacking the odds against him, so JB decided to beat them to the punch and stack the odds against himself. Jungle Boy challenged Luchasaurus to a steel cage match at Full Gear. Christian realized that JB isn’t going away, so they will have to put him down for good. Challenge accepted. Christian taunted Jungle Boy with remarks about his dead father. JB took the bait and grabbed Christian’s throat with both hands. That left him unprotected for Luchasaurus to strike. The dino closed the scene by chokeslamming his former friend onto an open chair.

PAC spoke to his Death Triangle partners. They must defend the trios titles by any means necessary. PAC wielded his hammer to speak with emphasis. Fenix was reluctant to agree.

If you missed the news, Ricky Starks was not medically cleared to compete on Rampage after the backstage attack from Lance Archer on Dynamite. That match is supposed to be moved to next week’s Dynamite.

AEW world title eliminator tournament quarterfinal: Brian Cage vs. Dante Martin

Prince Nana was ringside to support the Machine. Martin started with fiery, quick attacks to keep Cage off-balance. Cage caught a flying crossbody to exercise a few reps of curls. Martin escaped and went back on offense. He did a muscle flex then launched for a suicide dive. Cage caught Martin in the air for a suplex on the floor. Cage entered the ring for a muscle flex of his own with great pride at his peaks.

Cage took control with power. Martin countered a fireman’s carry into a DDT. The underdog threw furious blows and blitzed a flying crossbody, springboard dive to the outside, and a flying splash. That couldn’t keep Cage down. Martin missed a 450 splash. Cage exploded for a discus lariat and full nelson slam. Martin was dazed but managed to kick out of the cover. Cage finished with Weapon X for victory.

Brian Cage defeated Dante Martin.

Lee Moriarty learned he can hang with the best after losing to Jon Moxley. His confidence is at an all-time high. Moriarty plans to collect gold from any champion. Hook entered with the FTW Championship while eating chips and eyeing Moriarty.

House of Black vignette with the resurrection of Malakai Black, Brody King, and Buddy Matthews. They will bring a kingdom of violence and pain.

AEW world title eliminator tournament quarterfinal: Rush vs. Bandido

Jose The Assistant was ringside. Rush launched for a tope con hilo during Bandido’s entrance. El Toro Blanco battered Bandido around the ring before the opening bell. Once the match officially started, Rush picked his opponent apart and sported his signature taunts. Bandido rallied for a tornillo dive, suicide dive, Fosbury flop, and frog splash. Rush kicked out.

The two luchadores increased intensity for a German suplex fight. German by Rush, German by Bandido, German by Rush, crucifix bomb by Bandido, leg lariat by Rush. Both men were down.

Rush took control for a piledriver. Bandido kicked out. Jose slid a chair into the ring as a distraction. When Rush grabbed it, the referee intervened. That allowed Jose to roam unseen over to Bandido in an effort to pull off his mask. John Silver arrived on the scene to screw with Rush. Silver punched Jose, and Bandido scored a roll-up on Rush to win.

Bandido defeated Rush.

Tony Khan announced on Twitter that Bandido is All Elite.

Jake Hager approached Claudio Castagnoli. Hager complimented Claudio as an incredible wrestler and an even better sports entertainer. Hager requested that Claudio think about sports entertaining again. He didn’t press for an answer and let Claudio think it over.

Nyla Rose vs. Kayla Sparks

The Native Beast held an open challenge as an unofficial TBS Championship defense with the stolen gold. Nyla squashed Sparks using Jade Cargill’s moves in mockery. Nyla finished with Jaded.

Nyla Rose defeated Kayla Sparks.

Afterward, Jade and the Baddies rushed to the ring. Jade connected on a pump kick to Nyla. Security corralled Jade, and Nyla ran away with the title.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Lee Johnson plans to bring home the first championship for the Factory. He recognizes Orange Cassidy as a world-class competitor. Johnson then dissed Danhausen as a cosplaying dink. Cassidy pulled out his own microphone to steal Henry’s lines. Henry interrupted. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

AEW All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Lee Johnson

QT Marshall, Nick Comoroto, Cole Karter, Best Friends, and Danhausen were all ringside. Cassidy frustrated Johnson with his comedic antics. The Factory caused distractions to help Johnson gain control. It didn’t last long, and Cassidy was on top again. The Factory went back to work with Comoroto pulling Cassidy out of the ring and smashing him over the barricade. Danhausen cursed Comoroto. QT low blowed Danhausen from behind and crushed a piledriver on the ring steps. Danhausen was escorted to the back in pain.

The match progressed with focus on outside shenanigans. Johnson executed a Blue Thunder Bomb. Kick out by Cassidy. Johnson argued with the referee as a distraction for Comoroto to press Cassidy in the air on the outside. Trent ran over to spear the burly muscle man. Chuck Taylor ran through the ring for a flying attack onto QT and Karter.

Johnson ducked a superman punch to score a roll-up with his feet on the ropes. Cassidy kicked out anyway. Johnson unloaded hard strikes. On a powerbomb lift, Cassidy escaped to hit Beach Break for victory.

Orange Cassidy defeated Lee Johnson.

After the match, Karter entered the ring and ate a superman punch. The Best Friends hugged Karter then stuffed him on a triple powerbomb to close the show.

The world title eliminator tournament matches stole the show on this evening of Rampage. Out of the two contests, I’d give the nod to Brian Cage and Dante Martin as the better, but it is a close call. Both bouts were very enjoyable with great action.

Martin was electric. I enjoyed his gameplan for a quick pace. Martin opened with urgency like he had a method behind his attacks. It felt very strategic. As Martin kept Cage on his toes, it built a groundswell of support from the crowd eager to witness an upset. The enthusiasm had an upward trajectory throughout. Cage got his shit in to swat Martin out of the sky. Martin was a good partner for Cage to look strong. Cage always looks strong, however, the setups were cool thanks to Martin’s athleticism. Even though Martin lost, it was the type of performance that earns fans and flashes his potential for big things in the future. Cage registered a quality win, which he really needed after recent losses to Wardlow and Samoa Joe.

Rush and Bandido rocked the ring as well. The fans rallied behind Bandido. I was a little surprised since he is a relative newcomer to AEW, but I’m not that surprised since Bandido is super exciting. Even though the finish was a bit weak with Silver butting in, it makes sense given the story with 10. I would have preferred Bandido to earn a breakout win rather than the result being used to set up a mid-card TV bout between Rush and Silver. That contest has not been announced, but it most likely will in the near future.

The main event was wackiness to the maximum. If AEW is going to embrace that sort of thing, then go full tilt. That’s what they did, and it was very entertaining. Let’s be real. Nobody expected Johnson was going to win. Instead, AEW crafted kooky fun. All the Factory interference set the stage for the Best Friends to rally and pop the fans in the process. Johnson and Cassidy did have a decent tango in terms of wrestling exchanges. They appeared to have good chemistry on the dance floor.

The rest of the show had plenty of interesting little bits. I like the steel cage stipulation for Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus. The justification and rationalization made sense on both sides. Christian shined once again as a scumbag. Hook stepping to Lee Moriarty is intriguing matchmaking. They have my curiosity to observe Hook against a technician. The House of Black vignette had a cool visual and voice-over story. It will probably be more fluff than stuff, but I’ll appreciate the artistry while its fresh. The hoss tease between Jade Cargill and Nyla Rose was tantalizing. I am appropriately pumped for their PPV contest.

Grade: B+

Entertaining wrestling, funny goofiness, and teases to create curiosity. Easy episode to digest.

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

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