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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (June 24, 2022): Pandemonium!

AEW Rampage (June 24, 2022) emanated from UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee, WI. The show featured Andrade versus Fenix in a barn burner, Hook being sent for NJPW competition, ROH talent aplenty, and pandemonium to close the show en route to the Forbidden Door PPV.

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.

Andrade vs. Fenix

Jose and Alex Abrahantes were ringside. Both luchadores went back and forth on headscissor takedowns and Three Amigos suplexes. The difference in style was the striking game. Andrade threw hands, while Fenix landed kicks. The action was as athletic as you would expect with a variety of cool moves.

Down the stretch, referee Aubrey Edwards checked on the status of Fenix’s knee. Jose used that opportunity to pass his tablet to Andrade. When Andrade wound up, Edwards intercepted the foreign object. Andrade went for a low-blow kick, but Fenix blocked. Andrade then resorted to an eye-poke. Fenix shot right back for a heel kick, however, Andrade ducked and kicked Fenix in the tender knee.

The action spilled outside when Fenix launched for a cannonball dive. Jose entered the ring, so Abrahantes did as well. Jose managed to find the opportunity to remove his shirt and show off his physique. The referee was occupied with those shenanigans and missed the surprise intruder.

Rush!

Rush came down to kick Fenix in the cojones. Andrade finished the job with a Hammerlock DDT to win.

Andrade defeated Fenix.

Andrade and Rush showed off Ingobernables t-shirts. Rush also pulled off Fenix’s mask. Pentagon ran out with a shovel to protect his brother. Los Ingobernables retreated.

Eddie Kingston hyped the Forbidden Door PPV, but he personally views Blood & Guts as more important. Kingston won’t be satisfied until he tastes the blood of Chris Jericho. He wants to know what a coward’s blood tastes like.

Cut to Jericho at commentary with a perturbed expression glancing suspiciously in all directions. Jericho thought Kingston’s message was disgusting.

Swerve Strickland realizes that Keith Lee doesn’t see eye to eye with him, but they are on a winning roll. The plan is to pick up another victory on the PPV pre-show against El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Lee stopped Swerve short. They can grow on the same page, but they have to keep winning.

Serena Deeb & Mercedes Martinez vs. Laynie Luck & Sierra

Dominating win via Brass City Sleeper from the ROH women’s champion. The takeaways were Deeb tagging herself in to one-up the champ, and Martinez banging into Deeb while running the ropes. Deeb was astonished at Martinez’s audacity, even though, the contact did not seem intentional. Deeb kept composure to assist in victory with a Serenity Lock to prevent any break of Martinez’s winning submission.

Serena Deeb & Mercedes Martinez defeated Laynie Luck & Sierra.

Afterward, Deeb was not pleased with Martinez. Deeb held her arm as if she was hit by a bulldozer rather than incidental contact.

Tully Blanchard Enterprises found the best players to kick ass with Brian Cage, Kaun, and Toa Liona. (That crew was formed back at the ROH Supercard of Honor PPV in April.)

Lee Moriarty wanted a shot at Jonathan Gresham for the ROH World Championship. Tully stepped in to get his crew first dibs. Gresham proposed a tag match with Moriarty against Tully’s team. Match accepted.

Hook vs. The DKC

Hook dropped low for a kneebar on the NJPW LA Dojo product. Hook was aggressive in the corner. The DKC fired right back. Hook ducked a chop for a high-crotch throw. That led to the Redrum submission win for Taz’s boy.

Hook defeated The DKC.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Cash Wheeler admitted that singles wrestling is not his forte, but he never backs down from a fight. Forbidden Door is FTR’s chance to make history. He’ll be sure that Cobb doesn’t walk in at 100%. Cobb demanded respect on his name to recognize his Olympic career. Untied Empire will walk out with the IWGP and ROH tag titles at Forbidden Door. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Billy Gunn used his stroke to secure an 8-man tag for the PPV pre-show. The Gunn sons were excited about traveling to Japan. Anthony Bowens clarified that they will be going to Chicago. Scissor party!

Jeff Cobb was awarded Sports Entertainer of the Week by Chris Jericho, because Cobb is such an animal.

Jeff Cobb vs. Cash Wheeler

Caprice Coleman joined commentary. Cobb was the immovable object to start. Wheeler didn’t back down and changed strategy to dropkick Cobb’s taped knee. Cobb still maintained the advantage through powerful slams. Cobb added sizzle for a standing moonsault.

Wheeler used a sleeper hold to slow Cobb. Wheeler would pepper punches, then Cobb would knock him down with one haymaker. Wheeler went low again to chop block the knee. Wheeler showed strength of his own on a marching powerbomb out of the corner.

The match progressed into counters to avoid heavy moves. In the end, Cobb executed a German suplex to set up the Tour of the Islands swinging slam for victory.

Jeff Cobb defeated Cash Wheeler.

Great-O-Khan came out to celebrate with his teammate. Dax Wheeler blindsided Khan from behind. Will Ospreay and Aussie Open ran down to maul Wheeler. Orange Cassidy and Roppongi Vice ran out to fight as well. Eddie Kingston grabbed a pen to stab Chris Jericho. Pandemonium erupted to close the show.


Pandemonium!

The brawl at the end was a hoot. Those kinds of chaotic finishes usually put a smile on my face. This occasion was elevated by three things in particular. United Empire hog-tying Dax Harwood for a beating was a funny visual. Orange Cassidy showing urgency and aggression actually pumped me up for his PPV match against Will Ospreay. Eddie Kingston’s constant pursuit of Chris Jericho was the topper. Whenever Jericho broke free to stumble away, it was like Kingston was always around the next corner ready to continue the fight.

The main event was a solid tale of powerhouse versus strategy from Jeff Cobb and Cash Wheeler. Cobb looked really strong. He was so impressive that he could be penciled into any prime time title fight for TV. Wheeler wasn’t too shabby himself when using technical savvy. The pre-match interview set up the story well. Perhaps a little too well, since it was no surprise that Wheeler lost in singles action.

Andrade and Fenix had a firecracker opener. Expectations were high, and they did not disappoint. The similar styles meshed well to show off the true differences. The surprise appearance from Rush popped hard. He looked so slick in that white suit. Ingobernables versus Lucha Bros should be a good feud for all of them to shine bright.

With so many ROH characters on this episode, it makes me wonder if an ROH PPV is near. Serena Deeb is clearly being positioned as Mercedes Martinez’ next big challenger for the ROH Women’s World Championship. I’d venture that Brian Cage will be in hot pursuit of Jonathan Gresham for the ROH World Championship. The feud between Jay Lethal and Samoa Joe over the ROH TV title should come to a head very soon. That is three intriguing matches right there.

Grade: B

The opener jammed hard, and the rest of the action scratched that itch for Friday night fights. The strength of this Rampage episode was the surprises across the board from Rush, Tully Blanchard, and Jonathan Gresham. Those appearances were so much more impactful than the various NJPW talent on Dynamite, because they were given moments to get their personas across quickly.

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