AEW Rampage (Sept. 22, 2023) emanated from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, NY. The Grand Slam special featured the Hung Bucks winning ROH titles, an unlikely alliance from Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho, Sting in action, and more.
Let’s run down the show from start to finish.
Sting & Darby Allin defeated Christian Cage & Luchasaurus. The Icon was back to his normal legend persona instead of his Joker character. Nick Wayne was ringside for support. The match was chaos with constant motion. The bad dudes isolated Allin, then Sting ran wild on a hot tag. He planted Christian on a Scorpion Death Drop and did the same to Luchasaurus with help from Allin for a Coffin Drop combo.
Sting tagged back to Allin, so the rascal could put hands on Christian. Sting exited the ring to smash the dino on the outside. Christian poked Allin in the eye. When the turtleneck mack daddy went for the Kill Switch, Wayne caused a distraction on the apron. Allin scored a jackknife roll-up to win. Christian glared at Wayne like an angry step-pappy. No doubt he will be sliding into Mama Wayne’s DMs this evening.
Darby Allin pinned Christian Cage!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 23, 2023
Are we looking at a preview of their Triple Threat Match TOMORROW NIGHT on #AEWCollision against TNT Champion Luchasaurus?
Watch #AEWRampage #AEWGrandSlam ON TNT!@Sting | @DarbyAllin | @Christian4Peeps | @Luchasaurus pic.twitter.com/ibsXqGJXJ6
This was a fun outing fitting for the Sting style. He clobbered fools with gusto. The Scorpion Coffin Drop combo was a slick way to add extra oomph in putting down the power dino. Allin pinned Christian in a way that gives hope he can do it again in the TNT title three-way on Collision. Sting will be banned from ringside, but there was no word on the same for Wayne. That will be an intriguing match to watch without a predictable result.
Orange Cassidy, Hook, & Kris Statlander defeated Daddy Magic, Cool Hand Ang, & Anna Jay. This match was set up last week in a social media video. Sweet chili heat.
EXCLUSIVE: Daddy Magic and Cool Hand Ang confront #FTW Champion HOOK and demand that cameras be present to document the ordeal @theDaddyMagic | @TheAngeloParker | @730Hook | @orangecassidy | @annajay___ | @callmekrisstat pic.twitter.com/6KVYq5Oytq— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 17, 2023
Mixed tag rules in effect. Jake Hager was ringside adding physical interference. Hook took the beating to set up a hot tag to Cassidy. The good friends hit a triple suplex on the bad friends. Mayhem erupted. Cassidy popped Hager with a superman punch. Anna choked Cassidy with the Queen Slayer. Statlander lifted Anna off her pal into an electric chair slam. Hook slapped on the Redrum submission to Daddy Magic. Cassidy finished with a superman punch on Cool Hand.
Anna Jay locks the Queen Slayer on Orange Cassidy!?!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 23, 2023
Watch #AEWRampage #AEWGrandSlam ON TNT!@CallMeKrisStat | @HOOK730 | @OrangeCassidy | @annajay___ | @thedaddymagic | @theangeloparker pic.twitter.com/MN8U4TPD3k
This bout was a good time beating up the Cool Daddy crew. It was a simple formula delivering the crowd-friendly ending. Cassidy, Hook, and Statlander all got their spots in. I like how Cassidy’s team eliminated all the threats to ensure victory on the winning pin. It shows strategy at play.
QTV. Footage aired of QT Marshall defending the AAA Latin American Championship in Montreal, Canada. Johnny TV will be QT’s tag partner next week for the champ’s return to AEW. Be sure to watch the clip for all the goofy reactions from Aaron Solo and Harley Cameron.
TONIGHT on QTV!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 23, 2023
• AAA Latin American Champion QT Marshall’s latest victory!
• New handshakes!
• QT Marshall’s new Tag Team Partner!
Watch #AEWRampage #AEWGrandSlam ON TNT!@TheRealMorrison | @QTMarshall | @itsdanni_ellexo | @AaronSoloAEW pic.twitter.com/nz5BjVxpbT
Sammy Guevara joined the Callis Family. Don Callis introduced Sammy as the newest member. Sammy explained that he was tired of being held back in the shadow of Chris Jericho. He is also done trying to earn the love of fickle mush-head fans. Sammy has a hot wife, a baby girl, and a fat paycheck. He never wants to see Jericho again.
Enter Jericho to fight the Callis Family. The numbers were too much to handle. Sammy wailed away with a steel chair. Callis took some free punches, then he held his screwdriver high to do some stabbing. Enter Kenny Omega for the save.
Backstage, Omega explained that he wasn’t there to help Jericho. It was more about taking out Callis. Jericho approached Omega about an alliance to eliminate Callis. He proposed a trios match for WrestleDream. Jericho, Omega, & Kota Ibushi against the Callis Family.
Former rivals Kenny Omega & Chris Jericho are now united to take out the Don Callis Family at #AEWWrestleDream on October 1st LIVE on PPV!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 23, 2023
Kenny Omega, Jericho & Kota Ibushi vs. Don Callis Family
Will Don Callis accept the challenge?
Watch #AEWRampage #AEWGrandSlam ON TNT! pic.twitter.com/DD0ffYvFzH
Sammy’s explanation for turning on Jericho made sense. He should be a good fit in the Callis Family. Dandy Don’s fashion and attitude is already rubbing off on Sammy. One thing about Callis, the overwhelming boos he receives always makes me laugh. I hope that continues for as long as possible. Omega making the save was a pleasant surprise. I never considered Omega and Jericho joining forces, but I’m on board for the all-star team. Hanging with Omega should also help with a babyface rub for Jericho in this situation. As for WrestleDream, I would have preferred to see Ibushi versus Takeshita one-on-one, if Ibushi is able. That is more interesting as a dream match.
The Righteous earned a ROH tag title shot. Vincent & Dutch won the #1 contender spot over the Hardys, Best Friends, and the Kingdom in a four-way tag team bout. The contest started as a free-for-all then settled down into actual tags. The action erupted again in the end with moves all around. Matt Taven distracted the referee, and Mike Bennett balled up his fist to punch Chuck Taylor in the groin. The Kingdom executed a teamwork spike piledriver on Chuck in honor of Neck Health Awareness. Trent Beretta made the save on the cover.
The finish saw Jeff Hardy land a swanton on Chuck, but Vincent made the blind tag on Jeff’s way up the turnbuckles. Dutch pulled Jeff off the pin and out of the ring. Vincent hit his version of the swanton on Chuck to win.
The Righteous will challenge MJF & Adam Cole for the ROH World Tag Team Championship at WrestleDream. After the match, the Kingdom attacked the Best Friends with focus on dishing out neck pain.
This bout was an entertaining hodgepodge of action. The beginning was weird from a structure standpoint with the rules. I had no clue who were the legal men or how the referee decided. Even though there were plenty of tags, it was easy to lose track of who was legal in the end. I just assume the tag from Vincent on Jeff was legit. The Kingdom bit playing into last week’s Neck Health Awareness speech was amusing. Bennett backed up his words. The Righteous are next in line for MJF & Cole. It’s interesting as unique matchmaking, but I have little faith that the Righteous can win. AEW will need to heat up some tension. I’d like to see a promo exchange with the champs reacting to Vincent speaking poetic and Dutch flicking his tongue.
AEW World Trios Championship: The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn retained against the Dark Order. Max Caster was the victim of isolation. Hot tag to Daddy Ass, but Alex Reynolds ducked out of a Fame-asser. Reynolds wasn’t so lucky on the Mic Drop combo. John Silver made the save. Referee Aubrey Edwards was distracted, and Evil Uno clocked Caster with the title belt. Caster kicked out on the cover. Reynolds and Silver went for their ping pong finisher combo, however, Caster countered for a Fame-asser to Reynolds. Gunn clobbered Uno on the outside. I think Bowens pulled Silver into the ring post. Tag to Bowens for a teamwork elevated powerbomb on Reynolds to win.
The Dark Order created enough drama to make me consider a title change could be in the works by hook or by crook. That added an extra layer of engagement to watching the match. In the end, the champs handled business like champions. The Acclaimed’s powerbomb finish was pretty sweet.
Julia Hart defeated Skye Blue. Competitive bout. Hart superplexed Blue while hanging from the turnbuckles.
After some tussling for position, Hart escaped the Sky Fall to clobber Blue in the back of the head. Hart cranked a submission for victory. Afterward, Hart slapped on the submission again. Willow Nightingale ran in for the save, and Hart hid behind Brody King.
This fight had feisty aggression and amusing mannerisms between the two. This feels like an effort to build up Hart after she was spotted eyeing the TBS Championship last week. Beating Blue is a good step, but beating Willow on Collision would be even more impressive. We’ll see if that ends up being the plan.
Bullet Club Gold speaks. The Bang Bang Gang practiced their Spanish and rolled their Rs in anticipation of Jay White versus Andrade on Collision. I didn’t even notice Switchblade hiding behind Cardblade in the same pose until he popped out. White warned that Andrade’s moment in the spotlight will end in defeat to the top shelf gunslingers.
Before their match TOMORROW NIGHT at #AEWCollision LIVE on TNT, #BulletClubGold’s Jay White has a message for Andrade El Idolo!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 23, 2023
Watch #AEWRampage #AEWGrandSlam ON TNT!@JayWhiteNZ | @theaustingunn | @coltengunn pic.twitter.com/hoBoINJqRb
Mike Santana defeated Dirty Bulk Bronson. AEW aired a vignette for Santana earlier in the show. His recovery from injury was the easy part. The mental state was the hard part. Santana survived too much in his life to piss it away like that. He is hungrier than ever. Nobody will stand between Santana and his money, as in winning matches to hit the pay window.
Santana got the job done against Bronson. He took control for a cutter, discus lariat, suicide dive, running cannonball in the corner, and a double underhook facebreaker to finish.
After the match, Ortiz came out on stage. Commentary talked up Santana’s line alluding to Ortiz as a crutch. They got face to face. It wasn’t fully clear what was said. Ortiz seemed to challenge Santana to say that shit to his face. Santana walked out alone.
That was a good showing by Santana to rebuild his character. Icing on the cake was jumping immediately into a story with Ortiz. It’s a bummer that their tag team broke up, but it’s nice to see the bridge isn’t burnt working together for a piece of business.
Mark Henry hyped the feature attraction. Enough talk. It’s time for the main event!
ROH World Six-Man Championship: Hangman Page & the Young Bucks defeated Brian Cage, Bishop Kaun, & Toa Liona to win the titles. The Hung Bucks were on fire early with high-octane offense. When the Jacksons set up a BTE Trigger, Swerve Strickland sauntered on stage as a distraction. Hangman took the bait and exited the ring to confront the mogul. That allowed Cage and the Gates of Agony to isolate Matt for a pounding. Hot tag to Hangman for a physical battle with Cage. The match progressed with nifty wrestling. Hangman hit a buckshot double lariat to the Gates of Agony, then the cowboy spiked Cage on a Deadeye piledriver. Kick out at 2. As Hangman loaded up for a buckshot lariat, Swerve moseyed down to the apron. Cage ducked the finisher, then Hangman was distracted by Swerve again. Cage exploded for a discus lariat. When the Machine lifted Hangman for a Drill Claw, Page countered into a roll-up to win. New champions!
In terms of an action, this match was blazing. Everyone had a chance to shine. Several exchanges popped the crowd. That teamwork hanging splash for Liona was a nifty move that stood out as fresh to my eye. The result went down to the wire with a happy ending for the Hung Bucks.
In terms of story, this match was whack. Hangman’s obsession with Swerve completely overshadowed the ROH titles. It’s like he didn’t even care that they won the gold. His reaction to focus so hard on Swerve made the six-man belts look like irrelevant chump change. It’s a shame, because Cage, Kaun, and Liona worked their ass off in ROH to make those titles mean something. They were a steamrolling power crew. Whoever beat them would have earned a heck of a rub. I’m not against the Hung Bucks winning those belts, because they are superstars that put on exciting matches. However, this result wasn’t done in a satisfying manner for maximum effectiveness. The title change came as an afterthought in Hangman’s singles program with Swerve.
Also, will Cage be fired by Swerve now? Swerve fired AR Fox for losing. Cage has lost several times and twice to Hangman in recent matches. That shows how stupid that Fox story turn was and how it negatively affects general logic moving forward.
Stud of the Show: Sting
Match of the Night: Hangman Page & Young Bucks vs. Brian Cage, Bishop Kaun, & Toa Liona
Rocking main event with spiffy moves galore.
The Grand Slam edition of Rampage delivered fun matches across the board.
Share your thoughts about Rampage. How do you rate it? What were your favorite moments from the show?