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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Aug. 12, 2022): Returns, newlyweds, & swerves

AEW Rampage (Aug. 12, 2022) emanated from Target Center in Minneapolis, MN. The show featured Bryan Danielson returning, newlyweds Sammy Guevara and Tay Melo defending the AAA World Mixed Tag Team Championship, Sonny Kiss swerving with a heel turn, and more.

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

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

Bryan Danielson returns

Danielson came to the ring to address his current status. The loss to Daniel Garcia showed that Danielson is not 100% healthy, but he doesn’t know if he ever will be. And he doesn’t need to be. What he needs is to live at 100%. Nothing makes Danielson feel more alive than being in a wrestling ring. He will never willfully stop wrestling. Somebody will have to end his career, and it won’t be Garcia in their upcoming 2-out-of-3 falls match on Dynamite.

Enter Garcia to the ring. He looks to Danielson as a hero, but it sounds like Danielson is coming up with excuses. Garcia plans to hurt Danielson so bad that it ends his career. Then, Garcia will be called the greatest technical sports entertainer.

Danielson responded that he is okay with the violence, but he is pissed off about Garcia’s sports entertainer bullshit. Danielson complemented Garcia’s skills and said Garcia was his first choice for the Blackpool Combat Club. Garcia looked away, so Danielson grabbed his face. Danielson questioned if Garcia wants to be the best technical sports entertainer or the best technical wrestler in the world.

AAA World Mixed Tag Team Championship: Sammy Guevara & Tay Melo (c) vs. Dante Martin & Skye Blue

Tay Conti is using the last name Melo now, which happens to be her real life name. Martin was back in Minneapolis as a homecoming. The match used American mixed tag rules instead of the AAA intergender rules.

The match started with aggressive fisticuffs from the babyfaces. Melo took control of Blue with mat work to crank the neck. Blue rallied with kicks for the hot tag. Martin was a house afire for a suicide dive to Guevara. Melo grabbed Martin’s boot to allow her beloved time to recover. Martin dragged Melo into the ring, wiggled free, then used her as a stepping stool for a Canadian Destroyer to Guevara.

Blue tagged in but waited to enter. Melo bested Martin with a tilt-a-whirl DDT. Blue flew in for a hurricanrana to Guevara. Melo saw an opening and struck with a thrust kick to Blue. The Tay KO earned the win.

Sammy Guevara & Tay Melo defeated Dante Martin & Skye Blue.

The Lucha Bros are not done with Los Ingobernables, but they will focus on winning the AEW Trios Championship with PAC back to form Death Triangle.

Parker Boudreaux vs. Sonny Kiss

Slim J was ringside. Early power domination from Boudreaux. Kiss used speed for a mini spurt of offense. Boudreaux had enough and goozled Kiss for a chokeslam. A high lift slam finished the job.

Parker Boudreaux defeated Sonny Kiss.

Andrade introduced Rush to Butcher, Blade, and Private Party. Rush cordially greeted Butcher and Blade, then he sassed Private Party for their embarrassing losses. Andrade wants Private Party to win the AEW tag titles. Isiah Kassidy stepped to Andrade for sleeping on them. It is time for Private Party to wake him up by winning.

Gunn Club vs. Danhausen & Erick Redbeard

Billy Gunn was ringside. Redbeard trucked through the Ass Boys to start. Danhausen cursed Austin Gunn, so Austin just punched him in the face. Teamwork isolation on Danhausen. Hot tag to Redbeard to wreck shop again. He tossed both Gunns out of the ring then flattened them with a running crossbody on the floor.

In the ring, Redbeard hit a slingshot senton on Austin. Colten Gunn barely made the save. The Ass Boys tried for a double suplex, but Redbeard reversed for a double suplex to the Gunns. Tag to Danhausen, who directed the flow for a teamwork finisher. As Redbeard ran the ropes, Billy low-bridged him out of the ring. Austin pounced for a Fameasser on Danhausen to win.

Gunn Club defeated Danhausen & Erick Redbeard.

Afterward, Billy was upset with his sons’ performance. It made him miss The Acclaimed. Billy told them to toughen up. They will get another chance to prove themselves in a match on Dynamite against Varsity Blonds. Billy exited. Stokely Hathaway was creeping in the crowd and made a pitch to the Ass Boys. They declined to take his business card.

Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee aren’t concerned about Private Party, but they’ll face them anyway since nobody ranked in the top 5 is stepping up.

Hook declared that defending the FTW title will be an open challenge. Zack Clayton answered to set up a match for next week.

Mark Henry interviewed the main event participants. Ari Daivari views Orange Cassidy as one of the most talented wrestlers on the AEW roster. He recruited OC, because he wants to spend his money on acquiring the best around. Since OC declined the offer, Daivari will beat his ass. Cassidy responded by stealing Henry’s signature line for this segment. Henry cut him off to deliver the goods. Enough talk. Henry closed with, “It’s time for the main event!”

Ari Daivari vs. Orange Cassidy

The Trustbusters and Best Friends were ringside. Daivari gave Cassidy one more chance to join his crew. All he had to do was lie down and be pinned. Cassidy went down to the mat. As Daivari dropped to one knee, Cassidy rolled away. Daivari got closer, and Cassidy rolled again. OC rolled out of the ring then back across and out again for a hug from Trent and Chuck Taylor.

The match unfolded with Cassidy’s comedic evasions and Daivari bringing the action. Down the stretch, OC had momentum for a Superman punch, but Daivari countered for a uranage. OC rallied with a tilt-a-whirl DDT and flying DDT. Superman punch setup again, but Slim J hopped onto the apron. Chuck pulled J down, then the Best Friends were goozled by Parker Boudreaux. OC saved his pals with a suicide dive.

OC climbed the corner. Daivari took control for an Iconoclasm maneuver. Daivari went for a hammerlock lariat, however, Cassidy ducked to roll under and explode for a thrust kick. The Superman punch earned the win.

Orange Cassidy defeated Ari Daivari.

After the match, Slim J attacked OC. Best Friends ejected Slim J from the ring. Boudreaux decimated Trent and Chuck. Cassidy stood up for a staredown with Boudreaux. Sonny Kiss ran in the ring to support OC. Swerve! Kiss turned heel by kicking Cassidy in the groin. Kiss stood tall with the Trustbusters to end the show.

Rampage was an episode of returns, newlyweds, and swerves.

Bryan Danielson was the top return of the evening. His promo was passionate. It was also kind of sad, and I’m not sure that was the intent. Declaring that he will never willfully stop wrestling is just asking for disaster. On one hand, nobody wants to see him end up in a wheelchair. On the other hand, I am looking forward to Bryan Danielson’s Last Match in 30 years from now.

I’m not a fan of Daniel Garcia’s reaction during the promo when Danielson questioned him. Garcia came off looking like a chump rather than the cold killer he has been shown to be. It also planted seeds for Garcia to leave the Jericho Appreciation Society. I feel that it is far too early for that. Maybe I’m misreading it, and Garcia was actually using his sports entertainer skills to trick Danielson. In that case, I would love it.

Other returns included Erick Redbeard and Zack Clayton. Redbeard was a joy to see as he hossed it up to maximum effect. Too bad success with Danhausen was thwarted by Billy Gunn. Grandpa Ass was very entertaining on the outside. His facial expressions to support Danhausen and shock at his sons taking shortcuts on Danhausen were a gem. Billy’s teases of getting back with the Acclaimed have me giddy. Scissor me, daddy!

Clayton is an odd choice as a challenger for Hook. I’m not against Clayton as a surprise to wrestle immediately, however, his presence doesn’t really hook me with interest rearing for next week. I guess AEW is trying to use his Jersey Shore clout to a benefit.

Newlyweds Sammy Guevara and Tay Melo had my favorite match of the night with Dante Martin and Skye Blue. The babyfaces brought strong intensity, and the heels heeled it up to amusing satisfaction. It was cool seeing the AAA World Mixed Tag Team Championship on the show. I was a bit bummed that AEW didn’t stick to the AAA intergender rules, because I don’t enjoy the forced tag gimmick. The finish played out mixing the action all around, so that didn’t matter in the end. Huge thumbs up for the stepping stool Canadian Destroyer spot. First off, it was an awesome visual. Second, the setup was smooth. There was no obvious choreographing and waiting to get in position. I didn’t see that coming and popped naturally at the move.

On the swerve tip, what a dastardly heel turn by Sonny Kiss. Kiss had been approached by Ari Daivari on Dark, so this story wasn’t completely out of the blue. It was still an odd call for Kiss to get squashed by Parker Boudreaux earlier on the show. I like the move overall though, since it should get Kiss more screen time. I wonder if Joey Janela is smiling at Kiss being bad.

The main event was weak on paper, but Orange Cassidy and Daivari worked hard to entertain. The Trustbusters were boosted out of obscurity in a big way. This match established Daivari’s skills and standing in the pecking order of AEW. If he can hang with Cassidy, then he should be alright against most of the roster. Parker Boudreaux was a beast all night long. And now there is instant heat for the trios tournament match between the Best Friends and the Trustbusters.

Since the title is plural swerves, we can’t leave out Swerve Strickland. A tag title shot for Private Party is weak, but at least AEW justified it in the promos. There also might have been a shot fired at FTR about ranked teams not stepping up. FTR has been #1 for a long time without challenging. With the All Out PPV around the corner, bring on FTR versus Swerve and Keith Lee for the gold.

Grade: B-

The show was about building fresh faces, however, it leaned too much in that direction. There were a lot of wrestlers featured that we had little reason to care about prior to watching. That said, everything was executed fine. It was clear that thought and effort were there. Stories developed, stars returned, and the heel swerve surprise showed that anything can happen on any given episode of Rampage.

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

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