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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Apr. 15, 2022): Hangman’s revenge

AEW Rampage (Apr. 15, 2022) emanated from Curtis Culwell Center in Dallas, TX. The live show featured the Blackpool Combat Club kicking Ass (Boys), Ruby Soho overcoming twin sisters, and Hangman Page closing the chapter on his feud with Adam Cole in a Texas Deathmatch for the AEW World Championship.

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

Excalibur, Taz, and Ricky Starks were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Blackpool Combat Club vs. Billy Ass & the Ass Boys

Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, and Wheeler Yuta represented the BCC against Billy Gunn and his sons, Austin and Colten. William Regal joined commentary for a humorous exchange with Taz. When Taz called him Regal, Regal equated being called by the just his surname to calling a dog. Taz relented as Sir Taz. Regal shot back that he will call Taz by his full name, Tazmania. Laughter ensued.

The Blackpool Combat Club stretched the Ass Boys. Papa Billy entered to muscle Danielson and take control. Hot tag to Moxley to clean house with a superplex and double DDT to the cheeky young men.

The finish came down to Yuta and Billy. When Billy went for a Fameasser, Yuta ducked away and used a bridging pin for victory. That ends the Gunn Club’s 24-0 trios streak.

Blackpool Combat Club defeated Gunn Club.

Butcher vs. Barrett Brown

Shawn Spears was on commentary hyping Butcher versus Wardlow for Dynamite on Wednesday night. Butcher chopped meat and finished Brown with a powerbomb in the dominating win.

Butcher defeated Barrett Brown.

Dustin Rhodes proved he still has it when he beat Lance Archer. That war isn’t over, but he has a special request first. Rhodes challenged CM Punk in a personal dream match. The bout was made official for Dynamite.

Owen Hart tournament qualifier: Ruby Soho vs. Robyn Renegade

Renegade sported a mean attitude with fish-hooking, stepping on Soho’s hand, and slapping her across the face. When Soho had momentum, Renegade raked the eyes then pulled a switcheroo with her sister, Charlette Renegade.

Charlette came out from under the ring to play possum on the mat. As Soho took flight for a senton, Charlette put her knees up. Soho was able to escape a fireman’s carry and hit the No Future kick. Charlette wisely rolled out of the ring and under the apron, so Robyn could return. Robyn tried a surprise roll-up from behind, but Soho kicked out then finished with a swinging reverse STO.

Ruby Soho defeated Robyn Renegade.

Next week’s Rampage will feature Daniel Garcia versus Eddie Kingston with everyone else banned from ringside and Jade Cargill defending the TBS Championship against Marina Shafir.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Hangman Page plans to end Adam Cole’s obsession with the AEW World Championship. Cole is going to remind the world that he is worthy of gold, even if that turns Hangman into a dead man in the process. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Texas Deathmatch for the AEW World Championship: Hangman Page (c) vs. Adam Cole

The only way to win was by knockout or submission. Both men wore jeans to the ring. Hangman had frilly fringe on his denim. The champ also wore cowboy boots. That showed he was serious about dishing out cowboy shit.

Hangman entered with intensity throwing chairs in the ring. Ding, ding, ding. The bout was officially underway. Both competitors picked up a chair. Cole swung wildly. Hangman dodged then connected on his swing to send Cole out of the ring. Hangman dominated early by thrashing Cole all around the outside and into the fan section. The cowboy guzzled beer after smashing a can on Cole.

When the action returned to the ring, Hangman pulled a slick trick. He faked a moonsault knowing Cole would counter with a superkick. When that happened, Hangman took advantage to connect on the real moonsault while holding a chair. That contact opened a cut on Cole’s head as the first sign of blood.

Hangman pulled out a table, but Cole countered for a suplex on the floor. Cole went on a run of offense to lower the boom. That’s written in lowercase, because he didn’t pull his knee pad down as a finisher. Cole got creative by tying a steel chain to the rope to clothesline Hangman like they were in a cartoon.

The violence kicked up a notch when Hangman executed a Death Valley Driver to Cole onto the top edges of two open chairs. As the match progressed, Hangman countered a Panama Sunrise into a Deadeye piledriver. When Hangman launched for a moonsault to the outside, Cole unloaded a superkick. Back in the ring, Cole hit the Panama Sunrise. Hangman came back to score a heavy hit on a super fallaway slam.

The match reset with both men seated in chairs for an old-fashioned slugfest. Bing, bam, boom, Cole had the advantage. He shouted at Hangman that the cowboy will never beat him or Kenny Omega and that he is a joke of a champion. That trash-talk fired up Hangman for a Buckshot Lariat.

Hangman used his own belt to tie Cole to the ropes. The cowboy went under the apron to retrieve his arts and crafts project of a barbed wire steel chair. Hangman felt hatred flow through his veins, but he couldn’t pull the trigger on the kill shot. He dropped the chair and untied his adversary.

Cole had no reservations about going low, so he immediately low-blowed Hangman once set free. Cole landed two superkicks. He ran the ropes, however, Hangman fired back with a crushing lariat.

Hangman ripped off a piece of barbed wire to wrap around his forearm. Cole connected on a superkick. As the two men were on the apron, Cole aimed for a Panama Sunrise. Hangman saw it coming and exploded for a barbed wire punch. Hangman wrapped the wire around Cole’s head and finished him off with a Deadeye off the apron through a table.

Cole was down for the count, and Hangman retained gold.

Hangman Page defeated Adam Cole.

First and foremost, three cheers for Hangman Page retaining the AEW World Championship.

I have mixed feeling about the world title main event. Starting with the negative, it was an okay match. The first PPV defense was more engaging as a whole. This one had a slower pace built around big spots, and there were some sloppy moments. It was the type of match where you could catch the highlights and not worry about missing out on something special. Adam Cole’s chain clothesline was amusing but also cartoonish. Cole did all that work as a counter move payoff? Cole’s trash-talk before the Buckshot Lariat was weird. Hangman already beat Cole and Omega, so his self-confidence shouldn’t be lacking anymore. Cole had momentum when he said that, so it wasn’t as if he tried a last-ditch effort in mind games. Besides, aren’t we passed that point in Hangman’s story?

For the most part, I can go with the flow of AEW. Adam Cole as world champion right now is a step too far. He’s a big enough star that I couldn’t dismiss the notion of a title change. The strong start by Hangman felt too easy, like it was setting up Cole to shock the world. As I watched, there was a kernel of anxiety throughout hoping Cole would not win. I think I would enjoy this bout more on a second viewing knowing that Hangman was victorious. It would allow me to sit back and fully enjoy the ass kicking given to Cole.

On to the positives. The numerous counter sequences were excellent in variety and unpredictability. That helped keep me on my toes as a viewer. The big spots were awesome. There were enough painful moments living up to the Texas Deathmatch stipulation without going overboard. Hangman displayed quality character work by resisting the urge to permanently injure Cole. That is the sign of a true babyface that fans can rally behind. The finish was 100% badass. The piledriver through the table was a true “Holy shit” moment. I appreciate that the match ended emphatically to close this feud until the next chapter down the line. It was extremely satisfying to see Hangman get his revenge. The win added another notch on Hangman’s holster as AEW’s top draw. Bring on CM Punk!

The opener was a crowd-pleaser. Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley, and Bully Gunn all had moments to pop the fans. Plus, the crowd got to chant, “Ass Boys.” There are not many occasions in regular life where you can get away with that. The analysis comes for Wheeler Yuta. Enthusiasm from his star-making performance last week carried over. The crowd was hot for Yuta. I like that he picked up the pin using intelligence. It saves room for later to increase his arsenal of finishing maneuvers and thirst for violence under the tutelage of William Regal. While Yuta is still the young boy of group, I hope AEW puts together a scene on TV of him playing music as Danielson, Moxley, and Regal relax.

The women’s match was a good warm-up for Ruby Soho to gain momentum heading into the Owen Hart tournament. She performed as expected. The intriguing part was the tricky work from the Renegade sisters. They left me wanting to see more. I enjoyed Robyn’s bad attitude with classic heel shortcuts. Even though she was entertaining, it was executed in a way creating desire to see her lose. ROH would be a good landing spot if Tony Khan increases the size of the women’s division.

Dustin Rhodes versus CM Punk might not jump off the paper at first glance, but Rhodes’ promo sold me 100% on the idea. I’m not counting on Rhodes to win, although, I sure as heck will be rooting for him as a weathered veteran wanting to test himself against the best.

Grade: B

Being that the main event was the huge selling point, that takes a large weight on the grade. I’d say the world title bout had exciting moments but wasn’t spectacular as a whole. The rest of the show was enjoyable, even though, it had obvious outcomes in over-matched contests.

Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? Who stole the show?

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