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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (May 20, 2022): Violence, pain, and torture

AEW Rampage (May 20, 2022) emanated from Fertitta Center in Houston, TX. The show featured the House of Black pummeling Fuego del Sol, Kris Statlander stealing the show, and the Blackpool Combat Club bringing violence, pain, and torture.

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.

House of Black vs. Evil Uno, 10, & Fuego del Sol

House of Black trounced their opponents early. It didn’t help that Fuego del Sol tagged himself in to get slaughtered by Malakai Black. Buddy Matthews taunted Death Triangle with a Cero Miedo hand sign executing an armbreaker on Fuego. 10 got the hot tag to run wild. The Dark Order had awesome teamwork to take control. 10 caught Black for a cazadora position. Evil Uno pulled Black into the ropes, so 10 could hit a slingshot suplex. Uno crashed onto Matthews and Brody King with a cannonball senton.

The match progressed with House of Black dominating in the end. Black connected on a moonsault to the outside onto 10. Matthews planted Fuego with a DDT through the ropes onto the apron. King finished Uno on a Gonzo Bomb to win.

House of Black defeated Evil Uno, 10, & Fuego del Sol.

Afterward, Penta Oscuro revealed a tombstone with House of Black’s name for Double or Nothing. The implication was a trios bout for the PPV on May 29.

Footage aired of Anthony Bowens getting injured backstage after Elevation. I think he tripped over his boombox? The Gunn sons asked papa Billy what to do. When Max Caster asked the same of daddy, Billy shoved Austin aside to provide wisdom. All factions have to deal with adversity. What makes them great is how they come out on the other side. When Bowens returns, they will be waiting for a scissor party.

FTR are fighting champions. They want the IWGP tag titles, so beating Roppongi Vice will put them in line toward that goal. Challenge accepted to defend the ROH belts on Dynamite.

Shawn Spears vs. a giant

MJF hand-picked an opponent for Spears in preparation for the cage match against Wardlow on Dynamite. The reveal was Big Damo (fka Killian Dain). The hairy man from Belfast trucked Spears early with a running crossbody on the floor. Damo continued his beatdown with a cannonball senton. The tide turned when Damo missed a Vader bomb. Spears clocked him with a knee strike then finished with the C4.

Shawn Spears defeated Big Damo.

After the win, Spears had words for Wardlow. It won’t be him locked in a cage with Wardlow. It will be Wardlow locked in a cage with the Giant Killer.

Adam Cole praised Kyle O’Reilly for beating Fenix and taking out Sting. They look forward to wrestling each other in the Owen Hart final. The Young Bucks challenged the Hardys for a PPV match.

Ruby Soho was on commentary to scout the next bout.

Owen Hart tournament quarterfinal: Red Velvet vs. Kris Statlander

Jade Cargill, Kiera Hogan, and Mark Sterling were ringside. Hogan landed a cheap shot to Statlander during the match. The alien was impressive with powerful offense during the contest, such as a bicep flex on a one-armed military press.

Statlander also halted a whirling headscissors to toss Velvet across the ring. Velvet used her smarts to rally and won Chris Jericho’s Sports Entertainer of the Week mid-match as she trapped Statlander between the ring and apron skirt. Velvet went to work on Statlander’s previously injured knee. Lil Cupcake was close to victory on the Final Slice, but Statlander kicked out on the cover. In the end, Statlander caught a spinning kick to counter with a lariat. That stunned Velvet enough to be slammed with the Big Bang Theory.

Kris Statlander defeated Red Velvet.

After the match, Hogan attacked Statlander. Soho ran down to help the alien. Cargill entered the ring to crush Soho. Anna Jay rushed in and stole Sterling’s crutch. The Baddies retreated.

TRAINING MONTAGE! Tony Nese & Mark Sterling and Hook & Danhausen exercised in preparation for their upcoming tag match. Nese and Hook put in real work. Sterling used a crutch to climb stairs, and Danhausen hung from one arm on the pullup bar like a monkey. Neither of those two had any idea how to workout.

Scorpio Sky was in the ring with Ethan Page and Dan Lambert to demand Sammy Guevara return the TNT title. Sammy offered an exchange. Give him the match (mixed tag?) or he will destroy the TNT Championship. Sky declined, so Sammy smashed the belt with a sledgehammer. Frankie Kazarian took a turn too as Sammy smooched with Tay Conti.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD questioned if Toni Storm can handle a high-pressure match in their Owen Hart semifinal duel. Storm questioned if Baker could handle it without friends interfering. If there is any funny business, Storm will rearrange Baker’s teeth.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Matt Sydal and Dante Martin are looking to climb the tag team rankings. Sydal aims to empower Martin by showing him the way of peace, love, and professional wrestling. Bryan Danielson professed his love for violence. That has proven successful with Wheeler Yuta winning the ROH Pure Championship. Jon Moxley added that pain and torture are their methods of teaching. Sydal and Martin are going to learn that there is no hope when they enter the ring with the Blackpool Combat Club. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Jade Cargill had a message for Anna Jay. Get an ass-whooping in a TBS title bout at Double or Nothing.

William Regal was on commentary for the main event. Jake Hager was there to protect Jericho.

Matt Sydal & Dante Martin vs. Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley

Blackpool Combat Club attacked before the bell. They dished out violence, pain, and torture to Martin. Sydal used speed to gain an advantage, but Moxley powered him into the ropes. Danielson followed with a running knee off the apron. Sydal took his turn receiving violence, pain, and torture. Hot tag to Martin for aerial delights. He connected on a flying crossbody to Moxley.

Later, Moxley caught Sydal on a slingshot plancha for a sleeper on the outside. Danielson went high-risk for a double underhook superplex to Martin. Danielson transitioned to apply the LeBell Lock. Martin inched toward the ropes for the dramatic break.

Danielson was peeved, so he unloaded furious kicks. Sydal was back in to help Martin take down Moxley. Sydal landed a Meteora to Danielson on the apron. Martin landed a double springboard moonsault on Moxley, but Danielson broke the pin.

Martin leaped into the air one more time, however, Moxley caught him for a rear naked choke. Martin rolled on top forcing Moxley to release the submission. Martin went for a flying dropkick. Moxley countered that into a piledriver. Martin kicked out, so Moxley pounded him with elbows. Danielson took care of Sydal with a triangle sleeper and smashing elbows. Moxley finished Martin with a Paradigm Shift to win.

Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley defeated Matt Sydal & Dante Martin.

The show closed with a brawl between the Jericho Appreciation Society against Danielson, Moxley, Eddie Kingston, Santana, and Ortiz.

Well, Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley certainly delivered on violence, pain, and torture just like they said they would. And I love them for it. The way they batter opponents with elbows close to unconsciousness always looks so badass for the finish. Matt Sydal and Dante Martin looked good in defeat with flashy moves. Martin showed grit and heart. It was the same with Wheeler Yuta, but I didn’t pick up any teases that Martin is interested in joining the Blackpool Combat Club. Martin meshes well with Sydal to keep on that path until Darius Martin returns from injury.

I struggle to envision any tag team in AEW defeating against Danielson and Moxley right now. They would maul pretty boys like Jurassic Express and the Young Bucks. I could buy into a reunion of Hangman Page and Kenny Omega, but that seems highly unlikely to transpire anytime soon. FTR is a rugged duo that would be a tough call for the Blackpool Combat Club, but I still favor BCC. If FTR does win the AEW tag titles again, I think the biggest pop would taking the titles from Danielson and Moxley.

Kris Statlander was the show-stealer for me. Her power was on awesome display against Red Velvet. Might as well strut her stuff when in the ring with a petite opponent. Statlander’s attitude change toward no-nonsense has elevated my interest. This performance hooked me wanting more ass-kicking exploits from the alien. Velvet worked well too. She had a smart gameplan focusing on the knee. I thought victory was hers after the Final Slice, but it wasn’t meant to be on this evening. This was a good match that kept my interest all the way through.

The trios opener had plenty of exciting moves. The result was never in doubt for the House of Black, but the Dark Order put up a good fight anyway. Fuego del Sol was steamrolled. I’m not sure what AEW is angling for him. I like his fire and big attitude on the few promos I’ve seen from Sammy Guevara’s vlog, so perhaps Fuego’s spot right now is to talk himself into fights he can’t handle.

Quick thoughts to close. Three cheers for the training montage. I wish there were more of those in professional wrestling. Tony Nese and Hook gave it the serious edge, while Mark Sterling and Danhausen brought the chuckles. That segment was a winner. The way Austin Gunn says papa cracks me up every time. Billy Gunn treating the Acclaimed better than his own sons will hopefully lead to them embracing the Ass Boys name. Nice to see Big Damo on screen. That was a pleasant surprise I was not expecting. He looked good before it was time to call it a night losing to Shawn Spears. Sammy Guevara is still unlikable.

Grade: B+

This episode of Rampage had exciting wrestling and tied up loose ends for Double or Nothing matches. Add in hoss action and a training montage to make me a happy viewer.

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

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