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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (June 17, 2022): Broken leg

AEW Rampage (June 17, 2022) emanated from Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, MO. The show featured Darby Allin breaking Bobby Fish’s leg, the return of Sting, and Jade Cargill defending the TBS Championship.

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

Excalibur, Taz, and Chris Jericho were on commentary. Dasha Gonzalez handled ring announcer duties.

Jon Moxley vs. Dante Martin

William Regal was on commentary for the opener. Martin used speed to his advantage, while Moxley used grinding physicality to gain an edge. Martin had the coolest move of the show with a flip into a hurricanrana to take Moxley down off the turnbuckles.

Mox rebounded quickly for a butterfly superplex. Whenever Moxley hammered away, Martin dug deep to rally. Martin almost scored the upset with a super Sliced Bread. Mox kicked out, so Martin went for a sunset flip. Moxley kicked out again. Martin showed his frustration. That gave Mox an opening to finish. Martin turned around into a clobbering clothesline. Moxley rained down hammering elbows then locked in a body capture hammerlock for the submission victory.

Jon Moxley defeated Dante Martin.

Keith Lee gave Swerve Strickland 30 seconds to explain why he shouldn’t beat that ass. Swerve justified his battle royal treachery as the desire to win a singles title. Lee wasn’t buying and turned his back. Swerve desperately tried to convince Lee. Enter Team Taz. They have yet to beat Ricky Starks and Will Hobbs in tag team action. Starks told them to marinate on that.

Hype for Malakai Black versus Penta Oscuro in the All-Atlantic Championship qualifier for Dynamite. Black threatened that it is time to take Penta out of this world and into the next. Penta spoke about Black as a clown trying to be a bad boy. PAC added that Penta will send Black back to where he came.

Max Caster & Gunn Club vs. Leon Ruff & Bear Country

Caster rapped to the ring, and Anthony Bowens scissored daddy Billy.

Caster and the Ass Boys attacked from behind to start the match. They made sure to incapacitate Bear Country on the outside. The trio made quick of Ruff. Caster closed with a flying elbow drop to win.

Max Caster & Gunn Club defeated Leon Ruff & Bear Country.

Hook will wrestle a NJPW prospect from the LA Dojo next week. He was not enthused by the news. Lexy Nair asked what excites Hook, and she picked up on the hint that ladies do the trick. Danhausen entered to hype the bout speaking about, “We.” Hook stopped him to say, “I got this.”

TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (c) vs. Willow Nightingale

Kiera Hogan was ringside, and Stokely Hathaway joined commentary. The champ overwhelmed the challenger early with raw power. Cargill also had Nightingale scouted well to dodge anticipated attacks. Nightingale’s scrappy spirit wouldn’t quit. She reversed an Irish whip into the guardrail and added a shotgun dropkick in the ring. When Jade was done playing, she turned up the heat for a double underhook facebuster and Jaded to retain the gold.

Jade Cargill defeated Willow Nightingale.

After the match, Cargill and Hogan stomped on Nightingale. Athena’s music hit as a decoy for a surprise flying stunner to Hogan. Jade nailed Athena with a pump kick. Kris Statlander ran down, and Jade retreated. The clip is worth watching to see Statlander hilariously slap Hathaway in the back of the head as she rushed to the ring.

Jay Lethal addressed the elephant in the room. He’s putting in work, meanwhile, Samoa Joe is absent as a lazy champion. Satnam Singh’s debut had all of India celebrating. They are just getting started.

Two big match announcements. Forbidden Door will have a tag team three-way between FTR, Roppongi Vice, and Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan in winner-take-all for the ROH and IWGP tag titles. On Dynamite, Moxley will team with Hiroshi Tanahashi against Jericho and Lance Archer.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Darby Allin finds Kyle O’Reilly personally responsible for injuring someone close to him when reDRagon hurt Sting. For that reason, Allin will take out someone close to O’Reilly. He promised to break Bobby Fish’s leg by the end of the night. reDRagon was not scared by Allin’s threats. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Bobby Fish vs. Darby Allin

Allin posed to the crowd, so Fish pounced to kick him from behind. Fish often focused on damaging Allin’s leg with vicious dragon screws and hard kicks. Allin rallied with rabid squirrel tactics for slingshots and suicide dives. Allin hit a nasty counter Scorpion Death Drop when Fish lifted him for a suplex.

Allin continued with a Code Red and Coffin Drop to the outside. Fish turned the tide by tackling Allin through the ropes crashing to the floor and executing a German suplex on the apron. Fish had momentum to connect on a super Falcon Arrow. When Allin kicked out, Fish transitioned to an ankle lock. Allin stood up to fold over and trap Fish in a Last Supper pin to steal the win.

Darby Allin defeated Bobby Fish.

Fish pounded Allin immediately after the match. He called for Kyle O’Reilly, who had a chair in his possession. Lights out. Lights on. It’s Sting! Stinger returned to throttle O’Reilly’s groin with a baseball bat. Sting handed the chair to his buddy. Allin placed it on Fish’s lower limb then leaped for a Coffin Drop to fulfill his promise of breaking the leg.

It’s Sting!

Now that I got that out of my system, we can discuss the killer main event between Darby Allin and Bobby Fish. Hold on, I have one more in me.

It’s Sting!

The main event was a dandy. Fish rose to the occasion. His performance elevated his status in my eyes. He dished out pain to control Allin for much of the match. Finishing Allin is easier said than done though. Allin’s fighting spirit shined. I appreciate his long-term development from daredevil to student of the technical game. He has maintained the mindset for crazy bumps, however, the Last Supper pin situation was a sneaky piece of strategy to win. The finish played out well as an unexpected ending.

The surprise return of Sting was awesome. I did not see that coming at all, so I popped at maximum effect. Allin dished out revenge, and now we wait for the tag bout against reDRagon. This story has been built strong for anticipation to the payoff.

Jade Cargill exhibited why she earned the Sports Entertainer of the Week award from Chris Jericho. This was a match to show Jade on a higher level than her competition. Willow Nightingale had a few moments of success, however, she was no match for Jade on this evening. And that was the point. I thought the flow for the finish could have been better. Willow was in control, then all of a sudden Jade took over to end it dominantly. Willow wasn’t damaged enough at the point to let Jade showboat on her. On the plus side for Willow, her entrance song is a perfect fit for her bubbly personality. It’s like a funky aerobics jam to complement the way Willow struts. The rhythm reminded me of the Pointer Sisters song from Action Jackson.

Jon Moxley did what Jon Moxley does, and he excelled doing it. Nothing new for him. Moxley always puts on a rugged performance to entertain. The same could be said for Dante Martin, except replace rugged with athletic. Moxley is in peak form heading into Forbidden Door to compete for the AEW Interim World Championship. This was a good showcase for him to demonstrate that.

The larger story in context with the Blackpool Combat Club made this intriguing. Martin has resisted recruitment from BCC, but I think they might be coming closer together after sharing the ring so much. Martin offered a handshake to start. Moxley sort of accepted by slapping his hand away. Mox didn’t do it maliciously, so that shows he might be gaining respect for Martin. During the contest, commentary put over Martin as getting one step closer to victory over Moxley than previous encounters. At the end, Moxley bowed to Martin, who was demolished on the mat. It feels like a setup for a future upset victory or Martin joining the crew or both.

Grade: B+

AEW once again offered an enjoyable episode of Rampage. Intense action, a few chuckles, and the huge surprise of Sting made the broadcast a treat.

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

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