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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Nov. 4, 2022): Mike Tyson returns

AEW Rampage (Nov. 4, 2022) emanated from Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. The live show featured the return of Mike Tyson, Orange Cassidy versus Katsuyori Shibata in a dream match, the Full Gear PPV opponents for Chris Jericho, 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.

Mike Tyson was in the house as special guest commentator for the opening bout.

AEW All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy (c) vs. Katsuyori Shibata

A hype package aired for the NJPW talent explaining his comeback from a severe brain injury in 2017. It was a long road to recovery, and there is no challenge Shibata will not face. The challenger received a special entrance from AEW.

Cassidy took the action to Shibata on a suicide dive. Fisticuffs broke out on the floor. Back in the ring, Cassidy put his hands in his pockets. Shibata immediately took advantage for a takedown and figure-four. OC reached the ropes for the break.

Later, Shibata took a page out of Cassidy’s book to deliver wimpy kicks. OC was visibly annoyed, so he mimicked Shibata to sit down cross-legged. Shibata did the same. Cassidy unleashed weak slaps. Shibata wasn’t having that nonsense and clobbered Cassidy with a hard slap.

For the finishing sequence, Cassidy connected on a superman punch, but Shibata didn’t go down. The challenger responded with a suplex. As Shibata ran the ropes, Cassidy sprang up for another superman punch. That impact was enough to keep Shibata down for the three-count. After the victory, Cassidy placed his sunglasses on Shibata’s face.

Orange Cassidy defeated Katsuyori Shibata.

Toni Storm wondered why Jaime Hayter became a bully. She never did anything wrong to Hayter personally. Storm blamed Dr. Britt Baker DMD for manipulation.

Claudio Castagnoli and Bryan Danielson both want a shot at Chris Jericho for the ROH World Championship.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Jamie Hayter vs. Madison Rayne & Skye Blue

Rebel was ringside. Blue started strong with a flying crossbody. The mean girls took control to isolate Blue. Hot tag to Rayne. The action broke out to moves all around. Rayne went for a crucifix bomb, but Hayter was too strong to go down. Hayter escaped and dropped Rayne with a ripcord lariat to win.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD & Jamie Hayter defeated Madison Rayne & Skye Blue.

Afterward, Baker called out Storm. The champ obliged. Storm punched Rebel in the kisser and rammed Baker into the barricade. Storm and Hayter engaged in physicality for a slobberknocking tease of their PPV battle. Storm locked in the Cloverleaf submission. Since Storm’s hands were occupied on the hold, she couldn’t protect herself when Baker whacked her with the title belt. Hayter stood tall to close the scene.

Chris Jericho responded to the Blackpool Combat Club’s challenge. He decided to choose both Claudio and Danielson. Jericho believes the BCC doesn’t like each other much, and they’ll beat each other up during the match. Jericho also added Sammy Guevara for a four-way, so they can team up on whichever BCC member is left standing. Jericho insinuated that Sammy’s job is to help him win. Sammy made an expression that foreshadows trying to steal the title if an opportunity presents itself.

Ricky Starks cut a promo in the ring. He knows the people want to see him on TV. That’s because he delivers. Starks entered the world title eliminator tournament. He plans to walkout of Full Gear as #1 contender.

Sammy Guevara challenged Bryan Danielson to best of 3 falls for Dynamite. Sammy watched Danielson wrestling on television as a youngster. He told himself he would beat Danielson one day. Since Sammy hasn’t gotten the job done yet, that means they have unfinished business. Sammy wants this stipulation to prove without a doubt that he is better.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Prince Nana wondered if Wardlow and Samoa Joe are ready to walk through the gates of hell against the Gates of Agony. Wardlow cut Joe off from speaking. The TNT champ wasn’t there for talking. He’s more concerned about getting hands on Will Hobbs. Wardlow dared Hobbs to attack him for a third time. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

The world title eliminator tournament bracket was revealed:

  • Eddie Kingston vs. Ethan Page
  • Bandido vs. Rush
  • Lance Archer vs. Ricky Starks
  • Brian Cage vs. Dante Martin

Bishop Kaun & Toa Liona vs. Wardlow & Samoa Joe

Prince Nana was ringside. Wardlow began with rage in his strikes. When Joe tagged in, the Gates of Agony eventually found an opening to isolate Joe. Hot tag to Wardlow to explode with German suplexes. Wardlow goozle slammed Kaun, but Liona broke the cover. Joe pulled Liona out of the ring for a sleeper on the floor. Wardlow connected on his vicious wind-up lariat to Kaun. Nana hopped onto the apron, so Wardlow punched him. Kaun went for a sneaky roll-up. Wardlow kicked out. Both powerhouses exchanged strikes. Wardlow won that duel with a headbutt. Wardlow played four notes on the powerbomb symphony for victory.

Wardlow & Samoa Joe defeated Bishop Kaun & Toa Liona.

After the main event, Hobbs came out on stage. Wardlow was in a fit of anger and shoved Joe out of his way. Joe did not appreciate that contact and eyeballed Wardlow as Wardlow was staring down Hobbs from a distance.

Mike Tyson was the show-stealer. His presence brought a magnetic big-show atmosphere, and he did a great job on commentary. You could tell Tyson prepared for his role. I was surprised he knew about Katsuyori Shibata. He provided insight and even knew technical holds. I’d love to see Tyson return as special guest commentator as often as possible.

Orange Cassidy played too many games for my taste. That’s what fans expect from Cassidy, so I can’t complain too much. Got to give the people what they want. The match deserves credit for playing well off OC’s silly style. It allowed Shibata to shine by battering Cassidy. Since this was my first time watching Shibata wrestle, I can’t judge the quality of his performance based on past comparison. Overall, Shibata felt like a special attraction and lived up to the aura. I enjoyed the little things Shibata did as strategic maneuvering to inflict pain. I’ll gladly take a second serving if Shibata returns to AEW.

The main event tag bout was a solid hoss fight. Wardlow was a beast powerbombing Kaun like an accordion. If we’re getting a Wardlow match, then that finish is what we came to see. The subtle tease of Wardlow wearing on Samoa Joe’s patience has me very intrigued. Wardlow is lucky he didn’t notice. Joe was ready to throw blows like a savage animal if Wardlow had made eye contact with him. That will be a doozy down the road. First, Wardlow versus Will Hobbs is going to rock.

I didn’t like the matchmaking logic on this episode. Ricky Starks declared his entrance into the world title eliminator tournament. If he is allowed to do that, then what’s stopping QT Marshall from doing the same. Make it feel somewhat special as if a committee chose the participants. The Blackpool Combat Club acted like they have the right to call the shots against the ROH world champion. Chris Jericho has the stroke as titleholder. Besides, Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli already lost to Le Champion in ROH title bouts. At least Claudio can claim a rematch since he lost the belt to Jericho. Danielson has no case at all, and Jericho should have told him to shut the hell up.

Closing with a few positives, Ricky Starks was absolute in his promo. He can definitely talk the talk with style and charisma. Love the way he set up his pose to pop the crowd. I appreciate AEW running an intro package for Shibata with details about his comeback. It helped put the dream match idea in perspective. The tussle between Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter was a tasty tease for their upcoming clash. It hyped me up as intended.

Grade: B-

This grade received the Mike Tyson bump from me. His presence made it must-see television while he was on commentary. The feature bout was Cassidy versus Shibata. As always with Cassidy, mileage will vary on personal enjoyment. The rest of the show was standard fare for Rampage and took steps toward the PPV.

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

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