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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (July 1, 2022): Star-making moment

AEW Rampage (July 1, 2022) emanated from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI. The show featured a Royal Rampage match to determine the next #1 contender for the interim world title, the Young Bucks shutting the Forbidden Door, and friendships forming in the women’s division.

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

Excalibur, Jim Ross, and Tony Schiavone were on commentary. Justin Roberts handled ring announcer duties.

Royal Rampage

The show kicked off with a Royal Rumble style of match using both rings from the Blood & Guts setup. Twenty men competed with one-minute entrance intervals sending fresh participants to alternating rings. Eliminations were over the top rope with both feet touching the floor. The final wrestler in each ring merged together to duke it out. Think World War 3 from WCW to visualize the scenario. The winner earned a title shot at Jon Moxley for the AEW Interim World Championship.

The order of entrants was Will Hobbs, Tony Nese, Hangman Page, Darby Allin, Ricky Starks, Butcher, John Silver, Max Caster, Rush, Blade, Pentagon, Swerve Strickland, Keith Lee, Matt Hardy, Dustin Rhodes, Frankie Kazarian, Dante Martin, Konosuke Takeshita, Brody King, and Orange Cassidy.

It was every man for himself. Hangman and Silver towed that line as a joke. After a tense stare, they hugged. Hangman pretended intention to toss Silver, but the cowboy was just goofing around. Silver did the same. A chuckle was shared by all far and wide.

Hangman also found time for a little boot scooting boogie as Caster rapped about getting hugs from Tony Khan.

Cool moves alert for Martin sliding into the ring with style for an upkick and Takeshita with a double German suplex.

Story points saw Lee warming to Swerve for a fist-pound before Team Taz ruined the love. Lee and Swerve were in different rings, so there was no treachery between the reluctant tag partners. Swerve did play a dirty trick on Cassidy though. Swerve, Allin, and OC teamed up to fight Butcher and Blade, then Swerve immediately tossed out Cassidy.

Rush looked strong in his AEW in-ring debut. The former ROH world champion feuded with Pentagon, which resulted in a double elimination. Penta secured a waist lock on the apron, so Rush went for a mule kick. As Penta fell backward, he pulled Rush down to the floor with him. Andrade threw a chair at Pentagon’s head and Rush stole the luchador’s mask on his way out. Los Ingobernables versus the Lucha Bros should be on the way very soon.

Down to the nitty-gritty, Hangman fought Starks and King. The cowboy was on the apron to low-bridge Starks out of the ring. Hangman geared up for a Buckshot Lariat, however, King charged forth to truck him down to the floor. King was the last man standing in one ring. On the other side, Allin used shifty movements for a pair of quick eliminations to Butcher and Blade. Allin was now the lone man in his ring.

King steamrolled Allin on a gutwrench powerbomb. The big man tossed the slender man through the ropes from one ring to the other. King crushed with a cannonball in the corner. He made a strategic error climbing the turnbuckles. Allin clubbed him down onto the apron. King was teetering by one hand, so Allin bit him hoping to loosen the grip. King retaliated by grabbing Allin for a sleeper. King lifted Allin over the ropes, held him hanging above the floor, and dropped him for victory. Watch the clip for a badass moment.

Brody King won the Royal Rampage.

The order of elimination was:
1. Tony Nese by Darby Allin
2. John Silver by Ricky Starks
3. Max Caster by Swerve Strickland
4. & 5. Pentagon & Rush by Pentagon
6. Matt Hardy by Butcher & Blade
7. Frankie Kazarian by Blade
8. Dante Martin by Brody King
9. Dustin Rhodes by Will Hobbs
10. Konosuke Takeshita by Butcher & Blade
11. Orange Cassidy by Swerve Strickland
12. Will Hobbs by Keith Lee
13. Keith Lee by Ricky Starks
14. Swerve Strickland by Butcher & Blade
15. Ricky Starks by Hangman Page
16. Hangman Page by Brody King
17. Blade by Darby Allin
18. Butcher by Darby Allin
19. Darby Allin by Brody King
Winner: Brody King

King will have his title shot against Moxley next week on Dynamite.

Alex Marvez interviewed Hook about what is next after defeating The DKC. Hook ate chips without answering. Marvez took that as a sign that Hook goes with the flow. Hook responded by grabbing Marvez’s tie in a threatening manner, then he delivered a piece of philosophy. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.

Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Young Bucks

The NJPW duo stepped through the Forbidden Door in an effort to earn an AEW tag title shot if they could defeat the champs. The Bucks gained momentum early. Matt Jackson was conductor on a Northern Lights suplex train culminating in a double suplex. Nick Jackson followed up with a flying attack to the outside.

Down the stretch, Matt blindsided Yoshi with a superkick. The Bucks blasted Goto with a double superkick knocking him into the next ring. The Bucks hit a BTE Trigger on Yoshi. Nick leaped for a springboard crossbody on Goto, then he bounced back on the ropes for a Meltzer Driver on Yoshi to win.

Young Bucks defeated Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi.

Jonathan Gresham is a man of his word. He will team with Lee Moriarty next week on Rampage against Tully Blanchard’s duo of Kaun and Toa Liona. Gresham was also miffed at always being left out of the discussion for best technical wrestler. It was implied that he will show Bryan Danielson and Cesaro that he is the best in the world.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Nyla Rose viewed Toni Storm as a high pressure system of hot air and bullshit. Nyla felt that Storm was encroaching on her territory as #1 contender. Even though Storm lost to Thunder Rosa at Forbidden Door, she won’t stop until she wins the AEW Women’s World Championship. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Nyla Rose vs. Toni Storm

Marina Shafir was ringside. Storm showed feisty spirit, but Nyla’s power was too much to handle. It didn’t help that Shafir was on the outside interfering with physical force. Storm rallied when Nyla missed a cannonball in the corner. Toni was able to hit a double DDT on the floor.

Storm continued her attack with a flying crossbody. Nyla shed off a tornado DDT to pounce for a heavy shoulder block. On the Beast Bomb lift, Storm escaped over the top for a roll-up, but Nyla sat down with her weight on Storm’s chest for a pin. Back on their feet, strikes were exchanged. In the corner, Nyla ripped off a turnbuckle trying to prevent a roll-up. Nyla went high-risk for a flying knee drop, and that was her downfall.

Storm dodged then rallied for victory. She began with a huge German suplex.

Storm continued with a tornado DDT on Nyla and also kicking Shafir in the face on the same motion. Storm went back to the DDT well for pendulum style to earn the three-count.

Toni Storm defeated Nyla Rose.

After the match, Shafir went to town on a cheap shot beatdown to Storm. Thunder Rosa ran in for the save to clean house alongside Storm. Thunder and Storm stood tall and shook hands out of respect to close the show.

Brody King had a star-making moment with how he won the Rampage Royal. That finish was such a badass visual. It is the kind of momentum building scene that could catapult King to bigger things. Ever since King debuted in AEW with the House of Black, I’ve been waiting for him to break out. He thrived in ROH with a new-age hoss style, but he hasn’t had much of an opportunity yet to show his supreme skills in AEW. King will get his chance to shine against Jon Moxley next week in an interim world title match. It should be a dandy of a slobberknocking slugfest. I’m predicting King will win over many new fans on that evening.

The Rampage Royal was very enjoyable. I have to admit that I’m a sucker for those types of matches, so take my praise with a grain of salt. The action was rocking, a few stories were touched upon, and the drama was high. One negative was that there was a little too much lying around on the mat from participants. Other than that, it was a blast of excitement. I hope it becomes a Blood & Guts tradition for Rampage. Might as well double dip on using the two rings for a unique concept while they can.

Hangman and Allin were the fan favorites, but I’m glad they didn’t win. When those two get there chance for world title shots, I’d prefer to see them go through the journey rather than a quick pass due to circumstances. Also, putting over King was a nice surprise to keep things feeling fresh.

Battle royals usually set up interesting interactions for potential future matches. Some I’d like to see are Hangman Page versus Ricky Starks, Dante Martin in singles action against each member of the House of Black, Orange Cassidy versus Swerve Strickland, and Hangman versus Brody King.

The Young Bucks took care of business to show why they are currently the best tag team in AEW. They made creative use of their surroundings for a special finish to close the Forbidden Door. It wasn’t too long ago that the Bucks lost to FTR. That showdown should be coming soon for another chapter. The more impressively that the Bucks win in the meantime, the more it builds the atmosphere to a fever pitch for the next round of Bucks versus FTR.

Toni Storm and Nyla Rose put on an entertaining match despite mediocre execution of maneuvers on occasion. Both played their roles well as plucky babyface and monster heel to make me care about the outcome. I appreciate that the exposed turnbuckle did not factor in the finish. That clouds the picture for next time not to assume screwiness will automatically occur when the corner pad is removed. It’s a little detail that makes the flow more unpredictable for the future.

I don’t know what to make of the main event post-match scene. Thunder Rosa already beat both of Storm and Nyla in championship defenses, and I don’t think many are clamoring for rematches so soon. It makes me wonder if AEW is setting up for women’s tag titles. Or at least AEW could bring back the women’s tag team tournament. Perhaps a future four-way with Dr. Britt Baker DMD for the world title is the direction. We shall see.

Grade: A-

Rampage was action-packed with fresh matchups and an unexpected winner to become #1 contender. I couldn’t have asked for much more from the Friday night offering.

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

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