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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (May 13, 2022): SCU betrayal

AEW Rampage (May 13, 2022) emanated from UBS Arena in Long Island, NY. The show featured Scorpio Sky betraying SCU brother Frankie Kazarian after a TNT title fight, Ruby Soho besting Riho in an Owen Hart tournament bout, and a new faction stealing the show with comedy.

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

Excalibur, Taz, and Chris Jericho were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Jericho awarded Sports Entertainer of the Week to Butcher and Blade for their hard work to improve. Kyle O’Reilly was watching from the front row to take notes on Fenix for the Owen Hart tournament matchup next week.

Death Triangle vs. Butcher, Blade, & Marq Quen

Bunny was ringside. Quen kicked Fenix off the apron crashing into the guardrail. The AFO isolated Fenix with tag team tactics. Fenix used a hook kick to create space for the hot tag to Pentagon. Penta Oscuro cleaned house then handed the action over to PAC. The Bastard hit a snap German suplex on Quen, but the Private Party member was too close to the ropes with feet touching for an immediate break on the pinfall. PAC hit a second German suplex. The Lucha Bros followed with the Fear Factor stomp package piledriver, then they launched to the outside to eliminate Butcher and Blade. PAC finished Quen with a Black Arrow.

Death Triangle defeated Butcher, Blade, & Marq Quen.

Afterward, lights out. Lights on and the House of Black was on the apron to intimidate Death Triangle. Lights out. Lights on, and the House of Black was gone.

Shawn Spears vs. Bear Boulder

Bear was powerful, but Spears was crafty. When Bear was high in the corner ready to pound punches, Spears poked him in the eye and lifted the beast on his shoulders for a C4 finisher.

Shawn Spears defeated Bear Boulder.

Spears cracked Bear several times with a chair after the match as a message that the giant killer is coming for Wardlow.

Mark Sterling wanted no part of the tag match with Tony Nese against Hook and Danhausen on the pre-show for Double or Nothing on May 29. Nese assured him it would be okay. He is a premier athlete that can beat both of them by himself. Nese advised Sterling to put down 10K to win once they arrive in Las Vegas for the PPV.

Owen Hart tournament quarterfinal: Riho vs. Ruby Soho

Riho’s shiftiness earned the early advantage. Soho tweaked her knee when landing on a missed flying stomp. Riho blocked the No Future kick to counter for a bow and arrow submission targeting Soho’s tender leg. Soho reached the ropes for the break.

As the match progressed, Riho hit a crucifix bomb to counter a Blade Runner. Soho kicked out on the cover.

Soho rallied hard for a back drop driver and kept on the pressure for a Blade Runner to win.

Ruby Soho defeated Riho.

Billy Gunn led a team meeting for the new faction between his sons and the Acclaimed. When Austin and Colten made suggestions copying DX stuff, Billy said it would never work. Billy loved the Acclaimed’s proposals, especially the scissoring hand gesture. Billy used his influence to land them a spot on Elevation. The whole group scissored in celebration.

Hikaru Shida is not medically cleared to compete against Red Velvet in the Owen Hart tournament. Mark Sterling felt Velvet should advance via forfeit. Tony Schiavone broke news that Kris Statlander will be the replacement.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Ethan Page and Dan Lambert wanted to know why Frankie Kazarian is getting a title shot. Scorpio Sky gave his word and will honor it. Kaz spoke about the match being one-on-one. Sky took the hint and gave his pals the night off. Page and Lambert were not pleased. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti sat in the front row showing off their AAA mixed tag titles.

TNT Championship: Scorpio Sky (c) vs. Frankie Kazarian

Sky and Kazarian went back and forth with mat work. After escaping finisher attempts, they ran the ropes and collided into each other. Kaz connected on a bridging fisherman suplex, but Sky kicked out. Sky took flight for a tope con giro to the outside.

The match continued with Sky snatching Kaz off the ropes for a TKO, but Kaz countered for a roll-up. Kaz slammed Sky to the mat then landed a springboard leg drop. Kaz worked for a chickenwing submission, so Sky dropped low for a jawbreaker. Kaz turned the tide in a major way by slingshotting Sky into the air for a cutter.

Kaz pounced for a chickenwing. Sky did his best to prevent the hold getting locked tight, however, Kaz had him in deep trouble.

Dan Lambert ran down to distract the referee. Sky was close to passing out in pain, and he may have actually done so. Ethan Page slid into the ring to clock Kaz with the TNT title belt. The contact allowed Sky to fall on top unknowing of Page’s dirty deed. 1, 2, Kaz raised his shoulder in the nick of time. As both men rose to their feet, Sky’s awareness clicked in quicker to strike for the TKO and victory. Sky retained the TNT Championship.

Scorpio Sky defeated Frankie Kazarian.

In the aftermath, Sky had been unaware of the assist from Page and Lambert. Kaz pointed out the chicanery. Page grabbed a mic and admitted his interference. He did it for the team and for Sky. Page demanded to know whose team Sky was on. The champ stepped to Page then turned around for a cheap shot on Kaz with the belt.

Sky and Page pummeled Kaz in the ring. Lambert taunted Sammy, so the Spanish God hopped into the ring with a chair. American Top Team retreated with the gold.

Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian put on a fantastic match. The story of familiarity from their SCU days was told through tight anticipation setting up a variety of counters. There were so many little technical fighting details adding to the drama, which were helpfully pointed out by commentary. I went in assuming Sky would win, however, the action sucked me in enough to not even think about it while watching. And then there was the finish. It was a bit of a bummer, because I really wanted to find out who was the better wrestler on this evening. It might serve a greater good as long as we get a rematch. Before, I didn’t care who won. I was just excited for the great match. Now, I’m invested in seeing Kaz prevail.

I’m done trying to figure out what’s going on in the TNT story in terms of who’s good and who’s bad. One week, Sky seems to be turning a corner as a fan favorite. The next week, he betrays his SCU brother as a wicked heel. The story is zigging and zagging all over the place. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as a viewer. It keeps things intriguing as long as they don’t go overboard with the flip-flops.

If the intent was always for Sky to be booed, then AEW executed it very well to get it back on track. It wasn’t happening against Sammy Guevara, so AEW pivoted to bring in a respected veteran with a strong connection to the champ. Kaz’s involvement allowed more impact for Sky to regain his heel heat.

Ruby Soho and Riho had an entertaining contest. The flow of the match felt driving toward a Riho victory, then Soho grabbed the steering wheel to swerve in a different direction to win. In that sense, I was surprised by the result. That’s what can make wrestling tournaments so much fun.

The little touches of comedy enhanced the show overall. The Gunn Club joining forces with the Acclaimed has quickly become one of my favorite things in AEW. I watched last week’s scissoring numerous times and laughed on every view. The clip for Rampage was also a hoot. Beyond the ridiculous scissoring, which I still love, the Gunn sons ‘aw shucks’ reactions are so funny. The excitement over Elevation slayed me.

In addition to those silly fellows, Jade Cargill gave me a chuckle when she had no clue why Mark Sterling was injured with a crutch and neck brace. Nor did she have any interest in finding out. Whenever Riho shows personality, it’s amusing. For instance, I laughed when she put her fingers in her ears to drown out Soho’s rock music. Sky snapping his fingers into darkness for the split screen main event interview was a funny visual alongside Kaz’s stone cold expression and Mark Henry jubilantly shouting his main event catchphrase.

The opener offered plenty of high-flying feats to enjoy. PAC’s Black Arrow is always a thing of beauty. Shawn Spears warmed up for Wardlow by showing his cerebral sense for shortcuts, which should come in handy in the cage match. Last on the list is an idea for a Rampage drinking game. Consume every time Chris Jericho says fireball. If you want to walk on the wild side, add wizard to the list as well. Good luck and stay healthy.

Grade: B

The quality was on par as always for Rampage with good wrestling, comedy bits, and story tricks. In terms of importance, I feel like you could skip the first two matches and not miss anything relevant. The women’s tournament contest and the TNT bout carried the show.

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

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