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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (July 22, 2022): Message sent

AEW Rampage (July 22, 2022) emanated from Gas South Arena in Atlanta, GA. The final night of the Fyter Fest extravaganza featured Jay Lethal sending a violent message to Samoa Joe, Max Caster rapping Austin Gunn into oblivion, as well as Hangman Page and John Silver running wild.

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.

Hangman Page & John Silver vs. Butcher & Blade

The pattern was Silver running wild, Butcher and Blade tag team control, Hangman running wild, Butcher and Blade tag team control, then repeat the cycle a few times. The beginning of the end had a lariat showdown between Hangman and Butcher. Butcher snapped a German suplex, but Hangman flipped out to pound a rolling lariat. Hangman was poised for the Buckshot Lariat until Blade grabbed his foot on the outside. Silver took care of Blade with a cannonball off the apron. The good guys scored rapid-fire tag team offense on Butcher to set up the Buckshot Lariat for victory.

Hangman Page & John Silver defeated Butcher & Blade.

Claudio Castagnoli was in the ring to hype his ROH World Championship match against Jonathan Gresham at Death Before Dishonor on July 23. Even though a world title has eluded Claudio in his career, he always believed he was the best due to fan support. Gresham claims he can outwrestle everyone, but he has never stepped in the ring with Claudio. Gresham’s mistake was tugging on Superman’s cape. Claudio will become the new ROH world champ.

Wardlow wants to defend the TNT Championship against the best. He will beat the shit out of every locker room in pro wrestling. Wardlow welcomes everyone into Wardlow’s world to find out where they stand.

Dante Martin vs. Lee Moriarty

Matt Sydal was ringside. Stokely Hathaway moseyed down to watch the action from the ramp. Moriarty used rugged mat work, while Martin scored high-flying attacks. Down the stretch, Moriarty locked in the Border City Stretch submission. Martin inched toward the rope to grab with his free hand for the break. Martin rallied with a half-and-half sitout slam. Martin went for his double springboard moonsault finisher, but Moriarty ducked under. Martin used a waistlock into the ropes for a roll-up. Moriarty reversed for top position and grabbed the ropes to cheat for the win.

Lee Moriarty defeated Dante Martin.

Afterward, Sydal questioned Moriarty’s desperation for a big win that he would resort to cheating. Sydal challenged Moriarty for a teacher versus student match next week. As Moriarty exited, he declined to accept Hathaway’s business card.

Dr. Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter vs. Skye Blue & Ashley D’Amboise

Reba was ringside with a sandbag. Baker and Hayter dominated Blue. Baker hit a vicious twisting neckbreaker hanging off the apron down to the floor.

D’Amboise showed skills on a hot tag, but the double-teaming got her. A backbreaker from Hayter, a butterfly suplex from Baker, a blindside lariat from Hayter, then a Lockjaw submission from Baker sealed the deal.

Dr. Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter defeated Skye Blue & Ashley D’Amboise.

Vignette for Ari Daivari flashing cash.

Max Caster dueled with Austin Gunn in a rap battle. Both men had entourages. Lil Scrappy was the judge. Lines were spit back and forth.

Austin had a chance to respond, but he lost his cool and couldn’t continue. The victory was awarded to The Acclaimed. Fisticuffs erupted with Billy Gunn clearing the ring. He tossed in a trash can for Austin to clobber Caster.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Christopher Daniels doesn’t need to stand up for Samoa Joe. He’s just tired of Joe’s names being dragged through mud. Jay Lethal shot back that he is going to drag CD through mud in the ring. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Caprice Coleman joined commentary, and Bobby Cruise was the ring announcer for the main event.

Christopher Daniels vs. Jay Lethal

Sonjay Dutt and Satnam Singh were ringside. Back and forth action to start, then Lethal took over with a pair of suicide dives. Dutt added some stomps to Daniels on the outside. Lethal maintained control with a cartwheel dropkick. Daniels rallied with corner punches, an STO, and a Blue Thunder Bomb. Lethal roared back for a Lethal Combination backbreaker to reverse STO. Lethal launched for a flying elbow drop, but he anticipated Daniels putting his foot up and landed short on purpose. Lethal snatched CD’s leg for a figure-four, however, Daniels countered for a small package. Lethal burst up for a big boot. Daniels countered a Lethal Injection into an Angel’s Wings only to see Lethal counter for a back body drop. Lethal pounced for the Lethal Injection cutter for victory.

Jay Lethal defeated Christopher Daniels.

Afterward, Lethal poured on more pain as a message to Samoa Joe. Singh military press slammed Daniels onto the floor. Lethal choked CD out cold.

This episode of Rampage was stuck in the middle between AEW and ROH. The show had a bit of an identity crisis between giving AEW fans the stars they desire and pushing the hype for the Death Before Dishonor PPV.

Jay Lethal and Christopher Daniels had a nice dance in the ring. It was enjoyable to see two veteran foes clash once more. Lethal handled business strong enough to show he will be a threat at taking the ROH TV title from Samoa Joe. Choking out Daniels to send a message might not be the smartest move. Joe is a killer. Poking a killer like that can only result in more pain.

Claudio Castagnoli cut a good promo for his bout with Jonathan Gresham for the ROH World Championship. As a Jim Croce fan, the line about tugging on Superman’s cape popped me. Rampage also aired several video packages for the ROH PPV matches. More contests were announced as well. The biggest surprise being Rush versus Dragon Lee in brother versus brother. That’s going to be a badass bout. The ROH pre-show added Brian Cage & The Gates of Agony vs. Tony Deppen, Alex Zayne, & Blake Christian, Colt Cabana vs. Anthony Henry, and Cheeseburger & Eli Isom vs. Ari Daivari & Slim J.

On the AEW side, Hangman Page and John Silver gave the people what they want for a fun bout. They took turns with high-octane offense to earn adoration. Hangman and Silver winning was the right call on this evening, but I’m not a fan of this recent trend of makeshift duos beating established tag teams. It sort of diminishes the difficulty that it takes to form a tag team bond in the ring.

Dante Martin versus Lee Moriarty was the most interesting contest of the evening. Moriarty’s victory was a surprise and so was his cheating. I like that this is being used as character development for Moriarty as a young gun. The man has skills, and now he’s working on making viewers care enough to cheer or jeer.

Mileage will vary for the rap battle between Max Caster and Austin Gunn. Personally, I was intrigued but didn’t find it all that interesting. Staged rap battles will rarely compare to the real thing, especially when the material is toned down for family television. I hope the next stage in this feud is an oily posedown competition.

Grade: B

Solid show with entertaining action. This episode didn’t make me feel strongly about anything nor did it ever bore me. It was a pleasant way to pass the hour on a Friday night.

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

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