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AEW Rampage recap & reactions (Apr. 22, 2023): Jon Moxley chokes out OG

AEW Rampage (Apr. 22, 2023) emanated from Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The Saturday night episode featured Jon Moxley choking out a wrestling OG, Hijo del Vikingo defending the AAA Mega Championship, and more.

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

Excalibur, Jim Ross, and Tony Schiavone were on commentary. Dasha Gonzalez handled ring announcer duties.

Jon Moxley vs. Christopher Daniels

The veterans were on an even playing field for technical skill. The edge went to Moxley for his ornery attitude. Mox rammed Daniels into the ring steps a few times. Daniels showed fighting spirit to kick out of a King Kong lariat to piledriver combo. CD fired up for a flying flatliner and Angel’s Wings. Moxley regained control with hammering elbows. He transitioned to the bulldog choke to a rear naked choke with a body triangle. Daniels went to sleep. Afterward, Daniels was anxious about post-match fisticuffs, which the Blackpool Combat Club has been known to partake in recently. Moxley paid respect to the OG with a handshake.

Jon Moxley defeated Christopher Daniels.

Jade Cargill wrestles Taya Valkyrie for the TBS Championship on Dynamite. Mark Sterling inserted lawyer language into the match contract that bans Taya from using the Jaded (or Road to Valhalla) maneuver or else she will lose via disqualification.

Jeff Hardy teased the crowd that the smartest thing for him to do is to retire... from screwing up. Jeff is here to end his career on a high note rather than a depressing low. Matt Hardy was interrupted by Stokely Hathaway on the big screen. Matt declined to name a date for the Deletion match. Stokely’s appearance was a trap for the Firm to attack from behind.

Adam Cole apologized to Dr. Britt Baker DMD in the trainer’s room as she howled in pain from the JAS/Outcasts beatdown.

Dustin Rhodes and Keith Lee are back in the saddle as a tag team next week.

Kiera Hogan vs. Julia Hart

Hogan had no fear of her creepy opponent to take early control. Hart rallied with a jawbreaker, neckbreaker, and standing moonsault. Hart maintained momentum to finish with the Hartless submission. Afterward, Anna Jay sprinted to the ring to beat some ass. Her face still showed signs of black mist from their previous fight. Security broke it up as best they could.

Julia Hart defeated Kiera Hogan.

Daniels was interviewed in the locker room. He doesn’t continue his career in the ring just for respect. CD is here for victories and championships. Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta entered from one side of the screen. Daniels was ready to throw blows if need be. Moxley waved off his teammates. He thought CD was a cool OG. Daniels responded that people are wrong about Mox. He must have a little honor still left in him. Moxley didn’t appreciate that comment, so he bludgeoned Daniels into the locker. Mox claimed that they never changed. It is everyone else who are out of their minds.

Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, & FTR vs. Tony Nese, Josh Woods, Ari Daivari, & Slim J

Sonjay Dutt, Satnam Singh, and Mark Sterling were ringside. Mark Briscoe was backstage watching on the monitor. FTR weren’t getting along with Lethal and Jarrett, but they did join the fun when strutting.

The Varsity Athletes isolated Cash Wheeler. Hot tag to Dax Harwood. All eight men entered the ring with Briscoe’s buddies cleaning house. Things turned a little ugly when Sterling wiggled free and Jarrett inadvertently clobbered Harwood. Nese went for a roll-up. Jarrett stood idly by without reacting as Harwood kicked out.

Arguing led to shoving between partners. Nese tried to sneak one in on Jarrett, but Double J gave him the Stroke. Harwood picked up the winning pin. Afterward, Briscoe ran out as peacemaker to prevent an eruption in violence among the winning team.

Jay Lethal, Jeff Jarrett, & FTR defeated Tony Nese, Josh Woods, Ari Daivari, & Slim J.

Orange Cassidy defends the AEW International Championship (previously the AEW All-Atlantic Championship) against Bandido on Dynamite. If OC wins, then that will be his 20th title defense.

Hype package for the main event between Hijo del Vikingo and Dralistico. Mark Henry appeared on screen for his signature line, “It’s time for the main event!”

Kenny Omega and Konosuke Takeshita are joining forces as a super team against Butcher and Blade on Dynamite. News flash, slick! Butcher and Blade are tough guys ready to kick ass.

AAA Mega Championship: Hijo del Vikingo (c) vs. Dralistico

Rush, Jose The Assistant, and Perro Peligroso were ringside for physical interference. The referee eventually caught them red-handed for a triple ejection. Dralistico controlled the action for much of the bout. Vikingo fought from underneath trying to build momentum. The champ was able to connect for a flying Destroyer on the apron.

Dralistico came back for a flying hurricanrana off the ropes down to the floor.

Dralistico executed La Mistica armbar, however, Vikingo reached the ropes with his foot. Dralistico made the mistake of taking his eye off the goal to argue with the referee. Vikingo pounced for a back heel kick, running knees into the corner, and 630 senton to win. Afterward, Los Ingobernables returned to stomp Vikingo.

Hijo del Vikingo defeated Dralistico.

Grade: C+

After a long day of fun in the sun, staying up for this Saturday episode was a tough sell. If I didn’t have to write about the show, then I probably would have fallen asleep. That’s not to say it was boring. Rampage was adequate. It’s just that nothing grabbed my attention as feeling special. It was a run-of-the-mill show.

The most interesting moments of the program were Jon Moxley beating up Christoper Daniels in the locker room, Anna Jay bringing the fight to Julia Hart, and the four-man strut. Those situations made my energy perk up a little. In fact, I’m strutting with my upper body right now as I sit here typing. Treating Daniels with respect as an OG was a new wrinkle to the Blackpool Combat Club. They might need another member for this Elite war, so perhaps OG status was a hint for who they could reach out to. Anna with black mist remnants is a nice touch as attention to detail for the story. Credit for consistency.

The in-ring action was fine. Daniels did his best, but he was not on Moxley’s level and never made me believe otherwise. Kiera Hogan looked good during her brief time to shine. Hijo del Vikingo and Dralistico scored some sweet moves. That match was a different formula for Vikingo than his previous showcases in AEW. The champ kind of squeaked out the win due to Dralistico’s lack of focus.

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

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