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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Sep. 23, 2022): Putting smiles on faces

AEW Rampage (Sep. 23, 2022) emanated from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, NY. The Grand Slam two-hour special featured Great Muta joining forces with Sting, Action Bronson rumbling in the ring, Eddie Kingston losing his cool, Hangman Page earning a world title shot, and Ricky Starks finding redemption.

Let’s run it down from start to finish. This show was pure action, so buckle up.

No DQ: Darby Allin & Sting defeated Brody King & Buddy Matthews with help from Great Muta. King shoved Sting off the turnbuckles crashing through a table on the floor.

Julia Hart handcuffed Sting behind his back. House of Black mauled Allin. King dragged Allin to the top of the stage. Allin escaped a teamwork maneuver to climb a stage structure and land a Coffin Drop on Matthews from high above.

King grabbed Allin for a hanging choke. Allin tried to break free. In the tussle, both men fell off stage crashing through a table down below.

Matthews had Sting’s bat in hand with bad intentions. Sting laughed maniacally and dared Matthews to swing. As Matthews wound up, the lights went out. Lights on and Great Muta was in the house. After a tease toward Sting, Muta attacked Matthews for a dragon screw legwhip and GREEN MIST! Matthews backed into Hart to knock her off the apron crashing through a table on the floor. Sting broke free from the cuffs and finished Matthews with a Scorpion Death Drop.

That action was balls to the wall for maximum pleasure. The handcuffs were a creative wrinkle, and the various table spots were wild. As much as House of Black needed that win, I have to give them a pass because it’s Sting! Sting is a superhero, so there’s no shame in losing to him. That surprise of Great Muta was so awesome. I hope he gets the Sting special attraction legend treatment for any matches in AEW. Imagine Allin teaming with Sting and Muta in the trios division. Muta’s appearance had me giddy for the rest of the show.

Hook & Action Bronson defeated Daddy Magic & Cool Hand. Enjoy this bonus promo from Daddy Magic & Cool Hand not aired on the broadcast. Their passion was strong speaking down on celebrities entering their world of professional wrestling.

Action Bronson provided a live version of Hook’s theme song.

The draw was to see what Bronson could do in the ring. His offense consisted of shoulder tackles and clotheslines. The other three wrestled as expected. Hook did Hook stuff, and JAS used tag team tactics to isolate Hook. That set up the hot tag to Bronson to run wild like a bull in a china shop for a stampede slam.

Hook locked in the Redrum submission on Cool Hand. Bronson did the same to Daddy Magic. Both dropped down on the mat to secure a double tap-out on the chokeholds.

That was a simple and fun celebrity match to create memories. There’s nothing really to glean from this. I didn’t have any expectations for Bronson. I figured he’s a big dude who’s going to smash. And that he did. The hot tag moment was set up well. Bronson trucked through JAS to pop the crowd. Mission accomplished.

Wardlow & Samoa Joe defeated Tony Nese & Josh Woods. This was pretty much a showcase squash. Joe finished Nese on a musclebuster. Afterward, Mark Sterling hit Wardlow with a title belt to no effect. Wardlow powerbombed Sterling three times. No word on if there was accidental defecation from the powerbomb victim.

This match had an awkward flow. Woods wasn’t really doing anything on the finish after being clotheslined out of the ring by Wardlow. The TNT champ clutched his leg when tumbling to the floor. That makes me wonder if he suffered legit pain, or maybe AEW rushed the match to make up for time if the first two segments ran long. All in all, the match gave the people what they wanted, which was asskickers kicking ass.

Jungle Boy defeated Fenix. Athletic contest with snazzy sequences. Down the stretch, Fenix had momentum on the Three Amigos. Jungle Boy countered the third suplex for a piledriver. Fenix kicked out on the cover. Fenix landed a frog splash, but he was unable to make a pin quickly. JB kicked out on the cover. Fenix picked JB up for a Black Fire Driver. Jungle Boy escaped to counter for a cradle to win.

After the match, Christian Cage made his return with arm still in sling. Luchasaurus crept in from behind to assault Jungle Boy. JB sensed it coming, but the dino was too strong and too fresh for the beatdown to be stopped. Christian issued Jungle Boy a final warning. Don’t come back to AEW. Luchasaurus chokeslammed his former friend to close the scene.

That match was flash with vigorous exchanges. Jungle Boy is building up an impressive win streak. After he deals with Luchasaurus and Christian Cage, I could see AEW setting up JB versus MJF for the world title in a PPV main event. On the flip side of the contest, thumbs down for Death Triangle getting chumped out as soon as they win the trios titles. Lucha Bros lost to Swerve in Our Glory, PAC needed to cheat to beat Orange Cassidy, and Fenix ate the pin to Jungle Boy. All those matches were competitive, but that’s too much weakness in a row for titleholders. It diminishes the anticipation to watch Death Triangle defend the straps.

Daniel Garcia party pooper. JAS celebrated Chris Jericho winning the ROH World Championship. Everyone was having a good time, except Garcia with a sourpuss expression. Next week will be a championship celebration. Garcia wanted to express a pressing thought to Jericho, but Le Champion told him to save it for next week. It’s time to go out on the town.

Here’s to hoping this story takes a huge step forward next week. I can’t take any more of sad boy Garcia.

Eddie Kingston defeated Sammy Guevara, but the decision was reversed due to Kingston being a goon. The match started with fire when Sammy grabbed a mic to call Kingston a fat piece of shit. Kingston responded by biting Guevara. Kingston uglied it up with brawling tactics. Sammy gained the advantage after a back body drop off the apron.

When Kingston was on a roll, Tay Melo helped distract to set up offense from her beloved. Sammy’s best shot at victory was connecting on a double springboard cutter. Kingston kicked out. For the finish, Sammy went for the same move, but Kingston countered for a half-and-half suplex. That set up three consecutive spinning backfists. Kingston added a stretch plum submission to win. Sammy was already out, so that was icing on the cake. Kingston refused to release the hold after the bell. Jerry Lynn and security personnel tried to talk sense into Kingston, but he still wouldn’t let go. Referee Paul Turner was forced to overturn the decision. Kingston officially took the loss on his record.

Smooth move, Edward. This is the hero people want? Stretching an unconscious man is a coward move. At least slap Sammy enough to wake up then stretch him again. I jest. I can understand his rage toward Guevara, however, beating up innocent security in a temper tantrum was a total jerk move. Seriously though, the real takeaway is Kingston as his own worst enemy. Kingston hasn’t evolved much on screen over the past year. His wrestling character doesn’t have it in him to reflect on self-accountability. It will be interesting to see if AEW steps in with perhaps a suspension to act as a catalyst for emotional growth.

TBS Championship: Jade Cargill defeated Diamante to retain. Miami rapper Trina was ringside to support the challenger. Diamante worked to chop down the champion. Jade powered up in the end. She caught a flying crossbody on the floor to execute an F5 onto the apron. Jade finished with Jaded. Afterward, Trina slapped loser Diamante and shook hands with the winner.

Jade took care of business. This was a quick match, so there’s nothing substantial to assess from Jade’s game. Also, more Diamante on TV, please. She always puts on a good show.

Golden Ticket Battle Royal won by Hangman Page. The winner earns a future world title shot. Paul Wight joined commentary. Hangman Page came out first. He was jumped on stage by Rush, Butcher, Blade, and Private Party. The Dark Order ran out to help their friend. Other participants included Matt Hardy, Dalton Castle, Brian Cage, Best Friends, Danhausen, Jake Hager, Daniel Garcia, Jay Lethal, Lance Archer, Lee Moriarty, QT Marshall, Pentagon, Cole Karter, Dante Martin, and Ari Daivari. A massive brawl ensued on the floor until the opening bell officially rang.

Story points included Dalton Castle eliminating Brian Cage with help from the Boys and Lee Moriarty eliminating Daniel Garcia. Those could lead to ROH title bouts. AFO turned on Private Party. Matt Hardy helped his former proteges and hugged it out.

The nitty-gritty came down to Archer, Pentagon, Lethal, Rush, and Hangman. Penta was goozled by Archer, but he kicked the Murderhawk Monster off the apron for an elimination. Penta tossed Lethal over the ropes into the loving arms of Satnam Singh for the save. Lethal sprang for a Lethal Injection then clotheslined Penta out of the ring. Hangman clobbered Lethal with a possible Buckshot Lariat that wasn’t fully caught on camera. The cowboy eliminated Lethal. Down to Hangman and Rush as the final two.

Hangman and Rush duked it out and tumbled over the ropes onto the apron. Hangman almost fell down to the floor, but he hung on for dear life. Hard chops blasted, then Hangman countered for a Deadeye piledriver on the apron. Rush crashed to the floor. Hangman was victorious. The cowboy will receive his title shot on Tuesday, October 18 in Cincinnati. That is world champion Jon Moxley’s hometown, but commentary teased that MJF could be holding the gold by then.

That battle royal delivered on chaos. There were enough signature moments to excite the crowd as the numbers thinned down. Hangman fighting Rush was a nice taste of fisticuffs to finish, and I hope AEW books them in a future feud. Hangman is a good choice for the winner. Outside of MJF calling his shot, Page versus Moxley is as big a match that AEW can make right now. Those two have never squared off in singles action, so it should be dynamite.

Lights Out: Ricky Starks defeated Will Hobbs. Rules dictated unsanctioned anything goes. Starks received the special entrance vignette treatment.

Objects of pain included a chain, chairs, tables, and Justin Roberts’ belt. Hobbs struck with a low blow to gain momentum. Starks retaliated with a low blow to escape a goozling. Starks aimed on a Roshambo onto open chairs, but Hobbs countered for a back body drop onto the steel.

The fight rumbled up stage toward the tunnel, where Hobbs ripped out a neon light tube. Starks crawled back to the ring. Hobbs swung his light. Starks ducked and speared Hobbs through a table. Starks bopped Hobbs on the head with the light then finished with a double underhook lift for the Roshambo. 1, 2, 3, Starks earned the win.

Solid action in that match, although, I wouldn’t say anything occurred that required the Lights Out stipulation. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since I don’t enjoy thumbtacks, barbed wire, and glass shards all that much in my vision of professional wrestling. It should be noted though as possibly watering down the Lights Out idea. I’d say both Starks and Hobbs came out looking like stars in this one. That was the final match of a long Grand Slam evening, and I think they delivered enough thrills to satisfy.


Grade: A-

The Grand Slam edition of Rampage was a blast. The fun factor was strong throughout. If the goal was to put smiles on faces, AEW succeeded. My favorite moments were the Great Muta surprise and anytime Chris Jericho spoke about honor. One criticism would be way too predictable results. The babyfaces won 7 out of 8 matches, and it wasn’t all that suspenseful in the process. Diamante was the only loser in that regard, however, Jade Cargill was the obvious favorite. AEW did get creative with the Eddie Kingston reversal after he made New York proud with the win in the original decision, so that doesn’t really count in this context. With the way the show played out, it’s tough to argue which results to switch.

Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?

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