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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (July 29, 2022): Jericho protege hot streak

AEW Rampage (July 29, 2022) emanated from DCU Center in Worcester, MA. The Fight for the Fallen finale featured Anna Jay scoring a major win, Wheeler Yuta making a sucker of Chris Jericho, and Lee Moriarty taking a step up in his career.

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

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

Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, & Satnam Singh vs. Orange Cassidy, Trent, & Chuck Taylor

Cassidy called out Singh, but Lethal tagged in Dutt instead. After shin kicks, Dutt had enough and gave OC his wish. Cassidy’s dropkick was useless against the giant. Singh landed a heavy chop in the corner, and Cassidy comically collapsed.

Best Friends rallied on offense. When it was time to give the people what they want with a hug, Singh goozled them. Best Friends dropkicked Singh off the apron. Lethal pounced for a double Lethal Injection to Trent and Chuck. Cassidy shot in for a tornado DDT to Lethal. As OC sized up a Superman punch, Lethal tagged in Dutt for shin kicks to Cassidy. OC snatched Dutt’s pencil and snapped it in half. Dutt was irate and ran into a Superman punch. OC made the pin to win. Singh was too slow stepping over the ropes for the save.

Orange Cassidy, Trent, & Chuck Taylor defeated Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, & Satnam Singh.

After the match, Singh goozled Cassidy. Trent made the save only to be smashed by Singh. The behemoth held up Cassidy for a Lethal Injection from Lethal. Wardlow stomped to the ring for the save. The bad guys backed away. Lethal was game to fight, but his pals convinced him otherwise. It was later announced that Lethal will wrestler Cassidy next week.

Ethan Page vs. Leon Ruffin

This was a rematch from Elevation after Ruffin had a plucky underdog performance in defeat. Round two didn’t go so well for Ruffin. Page trucked him early around the ring. Ruffin used his quickness for a brief evasion, then Page caught him for more pummeling. Ego’s Edge ended the match. The real takeaway was Stokely Hathaway scouting Page backstage from the monitor.

Ethan Page defeated Leon Ruffin.

Cole Karter was interrupted by QT Marshall. QT saw potential in Karter before he left to hang out with the wrong crowd (as Two Dimes in NXT). QT offered Karter a spot in the Factory. Sleep on it before answering.

Lee Moriarty vs. Matt Sydal

Student versus teacher. Moriarty mocked Sydal’s peaceful attitude. On an opening handshake, Moriarty headbutt his former mentor. Moriarty unloaded Taiga Style strikes for early control. Sydal used his veteran savvy to turn the tide with athletic offense, such as a standing Mariposa. Moriarty rammed Sydal into the guardrail to slow down the pace.

Action erupted with a roundhouse kick from Sydal, lariat and knees in the clinch from Moriarty, then question mark kick and Lightning Spiral slam from Sydal. Stokely Hathaway made his way ringside to ingratiate himself to Moriarty. Hathaway grabbed Sydal’s foot on the turnbuckles as a distraction for Moriarty to crotch Sydal. Moriarty seized the moment for a slam, ridgehand strikes, and the Border City Stretch submission. Sydal tapped out in defeat.

Lee Moriarty defeated Matt Sydal.

After the match, Hathaway offered his business card once again to Moriarty. This time, it was accepted.

Dr. Britt Baker DMD cut a promo trying to sow seeds of dissension between Thunder Rosa and Toni Storm. Baker questioned the convenience for Thunder to ally with a top contender and Storm’s championship ambition.

ROH world champion Claudio Castagnoli thanked the fans for their support. He brought out Wheeler Yuta to receive adulation for retaining the ROH Pure Championship. Chris Jericho exited commentary to spout off at the Blackpool Combat Club. Yuta baited Jericho into a singles match. When Jericho offered, Yuta declined. Yuta was so confident that he could beat Jericho that he didn’t need to prove it. Jericho sweetened the pot by putting his title shot against Moxley on the line. If Yuta defeats Jericho, then he will receive the championship bout in two weeks.

The Acclaimed debuted a new rap video railing on the Gunn Club as their lyrical target. Max Caster and Anthony Bowens were taking out the trASSh. After witty insults, the end was a dumpster match challenge for Dynamite.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Anna Jay was flanked by Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti. She justified joining the Jericho Appreciation Society as a smart choice. Ruby Soho had Eddie Kingston and Ortiz over her shoulder pantomiming. Soho challenged Anna to come out alone for the fight. You’re only as good as the company you keep. Anna was confident in her ability to choke out Soho. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Claudio will defend the ROH World Championship against Konosuke Takeshita at Battle of the Belts III on Saturday, August 6.

Anna Jay vs. Ruby Soho

Anna was honored with Chris Jericho’s Sports Entertainer of the Week award. Soho wrestled with a brace on her injured wrist from when the JAS slammed a car door on her limb. She had the early advantage, then Anna focused her attack on the injury. Anna locked in an armbar and removed the brace for extra pain. Soho rallied with repeated headbutts. She went for the cover on a back heel trip. Anna kicked out. Soho tried for the Destination Unknown finisher, however, Anna countered for a Gory Special facebuster. Anna landed a pair of kicks to soften Soho for the Queen Slayer choke. Soho escaped to hit the No Future kick. 1, 2, Anna kicked out.

Soho went high-risk but missed a flying senton. Anna went for the choke again. She tossed her arm guards on the mat. As the referee cleared the ring, Anna grabbed Soho’s discarded arm brace to use for added pressure on the choke. The referee didn’t notice, and Soho passed out.

Anna Jay defeated Ruby Soho.

The Jericho Appreciation Society is on a hot streak. Chris Jericho defeated rival Eddie Kingston in a bloody barbed wire match, then he talked himself into an AEW Interim World Championship bout against Jon Moxley. Daniel Garcia shocked the world to beat Bryan Danielson on Dynamite. And now, Anna Jay pulled another upset to submit Ruby Soho. Le Champion’s teachings are doing wonders for his proteges.

Heck of a win for Anna Jay. That was the blueprint AEW should have used for Garcia to beat Danielson. The superstar fan favorite came in less than 100%, and Anna worked a gameplan to capitalize on the injury. Sure, she cheated, but she accomplished it a way that was sneaky and smart. Doing it on your own by hook or by crook is more impressive than receiving a helping hand. Anna was aggressive and ruthless. Not to mention the figthing spirit to stay alive after a No Future kick. She now has my attention as a threat going forward.

The promo segment between Jericho and Yuta was a hoot. I really enjoyed the malarkey of the situation with Yuta outsmarting Jericho like a rube. There is one more issue though. The timing is terrible. Why do this match one week before Jericho versus Moxley in a title fight? It sure seems like all uncertainty is removed from who will win. Would AEW really flush Jericho versus Moxley down the toilet like that? I doubt it. So, that means they are feeding a ROH champion into the Lionheart’s den to lose. Or worse, Jerciho will look weak having to cheat heading into the title fight. Yeah, the match will likely be good, but I don’t get the need to have that story at this moment in time. Without the Moxley match looming large, I’d be all in on Jericho fighting Yuta.

Claudio Castagnoli defending the ROH World Championship against Konosuke Takeshita is piss poor matchmaking. The contest will no doubt be entertaining, but the problem is that Takeshita has done nothing to deserve it. He has zero singles wins on television. The concept of building momentum on a win streak was completely forsaken. Wins do matter. Not just for the record. It’s more about producing a hot prospect peaking against a stellar star. Could there be a changing of the guard? Based on this abrupt announcement, absolutely not. Just because Takeshita puts on great matches, that doesn’t make him immune to the stench of losing.

The opening trios bout was a blast of cheeky fun. That’s a dose of Orange Cassidy I can handle. Trent and Chuck Taylor brought the ruckus, while OC executed hijinks as appropriate. Wardlow looked like a dork helping the Best Friends, especially after how they tried to cheat to beat him.

Stokely Hathaway was an intriguing element of this episode. He appeared to be scouting Ethan Page, although, perhaps he was just admiring the tightest tits in the game. Building a crew with Lee Moriarty has me curious. Speaking of Moriarty, he did well developing his character in his bout with underhanded tactics throughout. Moriarty also impressed with a big win over Sydal. Taiga Style is moving on up.

A lot of AEW youngsters are making moves this week, whether it be promo time or important victories. There is a vibe of freshness afloat.

Grade: B-

Even though a few things had me scratching my head to the point of hair falling out, it was an enjoyable episode overall. The ring work continues to be engaging. Moriarty versus Sydal was worth rewatching, and Anna’s win was a nice surprise. The stories have me curious to keep tuning in to see the fallout.

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

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